“Pay-for-play” cop gets 4 years for accidental killing

Former Tulsa County Sheriff's Office reserve deputy Robert Bates is escorted from court after his request for bail was denied May 3, 2016.Bates was convicted of 2nd degree manslaughter in the shooting death of Eric Harris. MIKE SIMONS/Tulsa World

Photo: Careless cop Robert Bates in court. MIKE SIMONS/Tulsa World

A wealthy insurance executive who traded favors for a badge, gun, and false training records was sentenced to 4 years in prison for accidentally* killing an unarmed robbery suspect by grabbing his gun instead of his taser. At age 74 and in failing health, Robert Bates doesn’t have 4 years to spare. Yes, it’s hard on him and his family; but Eric Harris’ death is hard on his family. This wouldn’t have happened had Bates stuck to selling insurance.

*Of course, there will always be a suspicion that it wasn’t an accident, that Bates knew exactly what he was doing, that he’s a racist who saw the arrest situation as a golden opportunity to kill a black man and get away with it. I’m not saying that’s what happened; to the contrary, in my headline and article here, I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt and calling it an accident.


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