A day after a critical report raised questions about the training of a Tulsa reserve deputy, he denied Friday that his records were forged and apologized to the family of the man he killed when he “mistakenly” fired his gun instead of his Taser, according to NBC Today.
Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office Reserve Deputy Robert Bates, 73, said he completed the required training and denied a Tulsa World report that some supervisors at the Sheriff’s Office were told to forge his training records. He has been charged with manslaughter in the April 2 shooting death of Eric Courtney Harris, who was unarmed when he was gunned down.
From NBC Today:
“First and foremost let me apologize to the family of Eric Harris,” Bates told TODAY’s Matt Lauer in an exclusive interview Friday on TODAY. “I still can’t believe it happened.”…
Although state records showed Bates clocked nearly 300 hours of training since 2008, the Tulsa World reported Thursday that supervisors at the Tulsa County sheriff’s office were told to falsify Bates’ training records. Those who refused were reportedly transferred to other positions. The report has not been verified by NBC News.
“That is not correct,” Bates said about the report, insisting he was certified to be on the streets in his position. “That is absolutely the truth. I have it in writing.”
The Tulsa World report, released Thursday, states that supervisors in the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office were ordered to falsify training records for Bates, a wealthy insurance executive who donates to the Sheriff’s Office. The records reportedly gave Bates credit for field training that never took place and firearms certifications he should not have received, the report says. The allegation has been denied by the sheriff’s office.
Bates attorney said he is not guilty of manslaughter, calling the death an “excusable homicide,” CNN reports.
Harris reportedly ran from officers involved in an undercover weapons sting.