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Which Incompetent Dopes Are We Handing Guns And Badges To This Week?
Left: Pretend Cop Robert Bates; Right: Real Actual Dead Person Eric Harris, shot to death by Pretend Cop Robert Bates
Now that we've finally charged a murderous cop with murder, it's time to get back to the usual routine of cops just plain shooting people for the hell of it, or because in the heat of the moment they mistook their pistol for their taser, or because they're incompetent wealthy guys who gave a bunch of money to the local Sheriff's office so they could play at being Real Police. Or in the case of reserve Tulsa County Sheriff’s deputy Robert Bates, how about all three?
The Tulsa World advises us that "deputy" Bates -- who shot and mortally wounded Eric Harris Thursday when he fired his service weapon into Harris's armpit, thinking that he was actually pulling the trigger of his taser -- is an insurance company executive and cop wannabe who has "donated thousands of dollars worth of items to the Sheriff’s Office since becoming a reserve deputy in 2008." And Bates is just one of several fine citizens who have bought their way into the Sheriff's reserves, according to Sheriff's Office spokesperson Major Shannon Clark:
“There are lots of wealthy people in the reserve program,” he said. “Many of them make donations of items. That’s not unusual at all.”
Bates has donated multiple vehicles, guns and stun guns to the Sheriff’s Office since he became a reserve deputy in 2008, Clark said. The Sheriff’s Office did not have an itemized list of donations made by Bates available Monday[.]
Clark also said that Bates was a "highly regarded" member of the reserves. We bet he'll get even more regard now that he's killed an actual bad guy!
Mind you, all the reports on the accidental shooting have noted that the victim, Eric Harris, was a really bad guy with a long criminal history, so it's really no big deal. Except maybe for how he had already been tackled and could have been subdued with a taser instead of a bullet. As the Tulsa paper notes:
[Harris was] the subject of an undercover gun and ammunition buy by the Sheriff’s Office’s Violent Crimes Task Force [who] fled from arrest and then fought with a deputy who tackled him.
But just think of all the money Tulsa has saved on a trial.
The Tulsa County District Attorney’s Office has not made a decision on whether to charge Bates with a crime. If it does, expect the GoFundMe for his defense to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Bates was classified as an "advanced reserve," which Clark explained meant that he “can do anything a full-time deputy can do” -- including, it would seem, fuck up with lethal consequences!
For what it's worth, Bates at least can be heard on video acknowledging his error, saying “Oh! I shot him. I’m sorry.” That's considerably more polite than one of the other deputies at the scene. As the dying Harris said, “I’m losing my breath,” one of the cops replied, "Fuck your breath." Expect that to be a popular T-shirt for Law & Order supporters everywhere. Order now in time for Christmas!
Bates was not assigned to the team tasked with capturing Harris, but jumped in anyway to be helpful:
“Although he had training and experience for the arrest team, he’s not assigned to the arrest team,” Clark said of Bates’ role on the task force. “He came to render aid during the altercation, but he’s in a support role during the operation. That means keeping notes, doing counter-surveillance, things like that.”
So far, there doesn't seem to be any movement toward ending the practice of letting wealthy donors play cops with real guns. As Tulsa Sheriff's deputy Buck Turgidson put it, "Well, I, uh, don't think it's quite fair to condemn a whole program because of a single slip-up, sir."