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Saturday 21 October 2017

Officer charged over shooting death

Reserve officer Bob Bates has said he thought he was using his Taser
Reserve officer Bob Bates has said he thought he was using his Taser

A white reserve police officer has been charged with manslaughter after a black man was fatally shot as he lay on the ground.

Tulsa County prosecutors filed a second-degree manslaughter charge against 73-year-old Robert Bates, the latest shooting of an African-American by a white police officer to draw scrutiny.

Police treatment of minorities has become a major issue in the US after the killings of unarmed black men in Ferguson, Missouri, New York City and recently South Carolina.

A police investigator has said Bates thought he drew a stun gun, not his handgun, when he fired at 44-year-old Eric Harris in the shooting on April 2.

Bates is charged with second-degree manslaughter "involving culpable negligence," Tulsa County District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler said in a statement.

A video of the incident shot by deputies with sunglass cameras and released at the request of the victim's family, shows a deputy chase and tackle Harris, whom they said tried to sell an illegal gun to an undercover officer.

As the deputy subdues Harris on the ground, a gunshot rings out and a man says: "Oh, I shot him. I'm sorry."

Harris was treated by medics at the scene and died in a Tulsa hospital.

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