White Police Officer Mistakes Gun For Taser Fatally Shooting Unarmed Black Man

by
Jessica Renae Buxbaum
A white reserve deputy thought his stun gun was an actual gun and accidentally shot and killed an unarmed black suspect during an arrest that was caught on video.

The body camera footage shows a Tulsa County deputy chase that ensued after Eric Harris fled from an Violent Crimes Task Force undercover officer whom he allegedly attempted to sell an illegal 9 mm semi-automatic pistol to. During the tackle, one of the officers calls for Taser and a gunshot is fired off.

The shooter, 73-year-old reserve deputy Robert Bates, says he believed he was holding a stun gun and intended to tase Harris. Bates immediately drops the gun and says, “"Oh, I shot him. I'm sorry."

Harris cries out, "He shot me! He shot me, man. Oh, my god, I'm losing my breath."

A deputy replies, "You f*cking ran! Shut the f*ck up! F*ck your breath!" 


Harris was treated by medics at the scene and taken to Tulsa hospital where he died within an hour.

Like most reserve deputies, Bates is a volunteer with a full-time job working as an insurance company executive. The Sheriff’s Office said that reserve deputies are trained in the use of less-lethal weaponry like Tasers and that more than 100 deputies have the same “full powers and authority” as regular officers.

Read more: Video Shows Police Beating Suspect Fleeing On Horse

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