Tulsa, OK — The final tragic moments of Eric Harris’s life were caught on video, as well as the sociopathic nature of law enforcement. On April 2, 2015, Harris was shot by a reserve deputy, apparently meaning to taser him, while on the ground being subdued by other officers. On Friday, the taxpayers were told they will pay $6 million to the estate of Harris.
The civil rights suit alleged that ex-Tulsa County Reserve Deputy Robert Bates was neither properly trained nor supervised and accused former Sheriff Stanley Glanz of turning a “a blind eye to these dangers ... to allow his friend and financial benefactor to ‘play cop’ in the streets of Tulsa County,” as Tulsa World reported.
The settlement dismisses each defendant, including Glanz and Bates, and prevents the claims from ever being refiled against them, according to federal court documents. Bates’ attorneys earlier this week filed a state-level petition hoping to revive his failed appeal to overturn his second-degree manslaughter conviction for Harris’ death.
As TFTP reported at the time, Harris can be seen on the video running from police as the officer with the body cam gives chase, catching and taking Harris to the ground. Once on the ground, the officer can be heard telling Harris, “Roll on your stomach now.”
Reserve officer Robert Bates, now 76, can then be heard yelling “Tazer! Tazer!” as if to inform the other officer that he was about to use his stun gun on Harris, when suddenly a gunshot rings out.
"I shot him!" the stunned reserve officer says, as he drops his gun to the ground. "I'm sorry."
Tragically the next moments reveal the callous nature of law enforcement as Harris is manhandled on the ground by the cops, after being shot, with an officer pressing his face into the ground with his knee.
An irate officer can then be seen screaming in the face of the bleeding gunshot victim yelling, “You ran! You f—kin ran! Shut the f--- up!” as if running was some type of rational explanation for shooting him.
Subsequently, Harris can be heard screaming,
“He shot me! He shot me, man. Oh, my god. I'm losing my breath."
To which an officer gives a response that can only be described as sociopathic, telling the dying Harris,
“F--k your breath! Shut the f--k up!”
Harris had been attempting to evade officers that were attempting to arrest him for allegedly selling a 9mm and ammunition to undercover cops.
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Showing law enforcement's clear disconnect with reality, Tulsa Police Sgt. Jim Clark told reporters at a news conference at the time that Harris, “absolutely was a threat when going down,” which the video clearly shows wasn’t the case.
Harris' brother Andre Harris, told Tulsa World on Friday that he remembers how Bates labeled his brother a dangerous criminal. Bates’ attorney during the criminal trial also told jurors that Bates is “somebody we should be proud of” because he exited his SUV to “man up” and help capture a fleeing felon.
“I don’t have to call (Bates) a superhero; he’s a convicted felon,” Andre Harris said of Bates' subsequent conviction foir his brother's death.
During the time after the shooting, countless testimonies and documents surfaced showing the great lengths police went to not only cover up the fact that Bates was not qualified to be a cop but transcripts also described how Undersheriff Tim Albin and Maj. Tom Huckeby attempted to pressure Sheriff’s Office investigators to deem Bates’ shooting of Harris as a justifiable homicide despite resistance from prosecutors.
In spite of all the cover-ups and corruption, somehow this family was able to seek justice for their beloved son and brother.
While this shooting may have been an accident, the standard police response of fabricating a story about the individual being shot due to posing a threat to officers is not.
The standard way in which police do this is on clear display in the case of Walter Scott, as officers, prior to video evidence surfacing, had painted him as a threat to officer safety that needed to be shot to protect the officer’s life. Sound familiar??
Harris was unarmed and died on that day, about an hour after being shot.
As if the ineptitude of the officers in the case wasn’t enough, Tulsa County Sheriff's Capt. Billy McKelvey at the time claimed the arresting officers were not aware Harris had been shot, despite the gunshot noise and Bates’ admission as seen in the video.
Attorney Dan Smolen, who represents the Harris family said that this shooting was a defining moment between police and the citizens.
“From the darkness of tragedy came the light of public scrutiny and a seismic shift in perception and awareness in a city with a long history of racial division, injustice and violence,” Smolen wrote. “Tulsa was home to the 1921 Tulsa Race Riot, considered the single worst episode of racial violence in American history.
“Eric’s death, and the profound government corruption uncovered in the wake of his death, served as a wake-up call for Tulsa.”