Robert Bates Sentenced To 4 Years In Prison

574e0d62bc03c.imageRobert Bates, 74 years old, was a Tulsa, Oklahoma reserve deputy when he was part of a sting operation.  Bates fatally shot unarmed Eric Harris, and said that he mistook his gun for his taser. Eric was restrained when Bates shot him.

A jury has found Bates guilty of second-degree manslaughter.  The jury recommended the maximum sentence of 4 years in prison.  Bates wife has stated that because of his age and health, her husband is likely to die in prison.

(Editorial opinion:  The same conditions applied to Bates when he went on the sting operation with a loaded gun.  Bates could not distinguish where he carried his gun from where he carried his taser, nor that it was unnecessary to employ a taser upon a physically restrained suspect. He should not have been working in that capacity.)

After sentencing, Bates was escorted to the jail, and is expected to be transferred to a state prison next week.


Eric Harris

The shooting was captured on video and lead to investigations about pay to play, questions about training standards for volunteer deputies, and favoritism.  A review found an internal memo questioning Bates’ qualifications as a volunteer deputy and showed that Bates, a close friend of the sheriff’s, had donated thousands of dollars in cash, vehicles and equipment to the sheriff’s office.

A grand jury also investigated and indicted the longtime sheriff, Stanley Glanz, in September 2015, accusing him of failing to release a 2009 memo. He resigned on Nov. 1 2015.

Considering the discoveries and reforms, Eric Harris’ death was not in vain.





Posted on 06/01/2016, in Cases, Eric Harris, Trial Videos and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 21 Comments.

  1. yahtzeebutterfly

    Thanks for this important news, Xena.

    When a reporter tweeted the following during the trial, it seemed impossible to me that Bates could have mistaken his gun for his taser:

    Liked by 3 people

  2. And never forget Oscar Grant who was murdered because Johannes Mehserle also had “mistaken” his gun for his taser.

    Liked by 2 people

    • That was so horrible. Why was Mehserle going to tase Oscar anyway? Mehserle only served 11 months for murdering Oscar Grant. I wonder how much time Bates will actually spend in jail

      “As luck would have it, that wasn’t the first time that Mehserle went a little overboard. Less than two months before he executed Grant at pointblank range in an Oakland, California train station, the ex-officer allegedly used excessive force and violated the constitutional rights of Kenneth Carrethers at a separate Bay Area Rapid Transit hub.

      Carrethers’ attorneys say that on November 15 2008, their client was angry over the BART cops’ lack of help in a case of vandalism that targeted his car. Carrethers says that he called the police force “useless,” and from there Mehserle and a handful of other offices became irate. According to court filings, Mehserle used a leg sweep to take Carrethers to the ground, then punched and kicked him while he was on the pavement.

      The complaint continues that cops tied up Carrethers’ arms and legs before hauling him away.

      “Well, have you learned not to mess with police officers?” Mehserle allegedly asked him.”

      Liked by 1 person

  3. ‘A ‘just’ ending would have been for Eric Harris to not have been killed. When Mrs. Bates speaks of this murder being an ‘accident’ is she implying there should be no civil penalty or consequence?

    This year will surpass last year’s record number for LEO being arrested and convicted of police brutality and murder. More proof the BLM movement is working.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mindyme,

      “When Mrs. Bates speaks of this murder being an ‘accident’ is she implying there should be no civil penalty or consequence? “

      I think so. It probably never occurred to her that based on her husband’s defense that it was an accident by mistake, is the reason the State charged him with second-degree manslaughter.

      Liked by 1 person

      • She honestly believed it was wrong to punish her husband for taking the life of another human being.


        • Yes, Mindyme. Her attitude shows that she lacks respect for the lives of others. Bates had no business interfering in the arrest. Had he not interfered, he would not have made “a mistake.” I hope that some who served on the jury will be interviewed and tell why they convicted. Maybe that will shut Mrs. Bates up.


  4. Mr. Militant Negro

    Reblogged this on The Militant Negro™.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Perhaps it’s the cynic in me, but I can’t help wondering if the fact that he was a “volunteer” and not a full time police officer had some bearing in his conviction. A fall guy for a corrupt system that protects full-time police, who, it seems, no amount of evidence will produce a conviction, and, indeed, only in the rarest case a criminal prosecution.


    • Welcome DK Fennell! I hear you, but I would like to think that the video would have served as evidence regardless of who pulled the trigger. Also, those deputies on the scene were not very pleased with Bates’ interference. Their testimonies at trial were not to his benefit.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Xena, I have no doubt he (and not someone else) was guilty. My only point is that if he were an actual police officer everything would have been different from the beginning. And, as in so many other cases where there was incontrovertible evidence, something would be found (including incredible fellow police testimony) that would have either “prevented” indictment (as is usual for police crimes) or otherwise subverted justice. The fact that the trigger man this time happened to be a pretend cop made it easy to give him up.If Eric Garner were alive, he’d be able to tell you that when a policeman is the perpetrator, even video proof of the crime is not enough. (And I bet in that case too there were police who were not happy with his action. It’s just the rule; police don’t get convicted.)

        Liked by 1 person

        • DK, I understand. Like we see with what happened to Eric Garner, it brings dispute, distrust, and impugns the credibility of authorities. That keeps the public informed and gives us knowledge. It gives activists and advocates courage to continue fighting for what is right.


  6. “After pleading guilty to violating the constitutional rights of a minor in his custody, Runnels was sentenced on Wednesday to four years in prison with two years of supervised release”


    Liked by 1 person

  7. When will it end?


  8. sidewinder50

    I am happy to hear Bates has been convicted. I am surprised, though, the maximum sentence for 2nd degree manslaughter is only 4 years. I think back on that Florida case of 18 year old Misty Croslin from the HaLeigh Cummings case and her selling a handful of pills to an undercover officer and she received 25 years and a million dollar fine if memory serves me correctly. Still pleased “officer” Bates is convicted and going to prison.


    • Hey Sidewinder!
      Yes, it’s amazing how criminal sentencing changes from state to state. One of our hopes is that if Bates survives his prison sentence, that at least he won’t be a volunteer on any police force when he gets out.


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