- Associated Press - Friday, June 19, 2015

TULSA, Okla. (AP) - More than 8,800 people have signed a petition asking that a grand jury investigate an Oklahoma sheriff and whether some reserve deputies got special treatment more than two months after a volunteer deputy fatally shot an unarmed man during a sting operation.

The civil rights group “We the People Oklahoma” submitted the signatures on about 510 pages at the Tulsa County clerk’s office Friday. The signatures still need to be certified by officials.

By law, the group only needed 5,000 signatures from registered Tulsa County voters to ask for a grand jury inquiry into the office of Sheriff Stanley Glanz, but Marq Lewis, an organizer with the group, said the extra names were gathered to send a signal to those who doubted the group could get enough.

“We have been able to defeat the odds,” Lewis said. “We’ve proven there are people who want an opportunity to believe in the system again.

“We were the underdog,” Lewis said.

Terry Simonson, a sheriff’s spokesman, didn’t immediately return a message seeking comment Friday. Previously, Simonson has said Glanz was eager to tell his side of the story in front of a grand jury.

The 17-page petition asks the grand jury to investigate whether Glanz neglected his duties and whether reserve deputies who gave donations to the sheriff were given special treatment.

Robert Bates, the reserve deputy who has pleaded not guilty to second-degree manslaughter in the April 2 shooting death of Eric Harris, is a friend of Glanz. He has donated tens of thousands of dollars in cash and equipment to the sheriff’s office.

Bates has said he confused his handgun and stun gun in the shooting. Bates is white; Harris was black. The victim’s brother has said he does not believe race played a role.

The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation is already looking into the shooting after a leaked 2009 memo raised concerns about Bates’ training. The reserve deputy program also has been temporarily suspended pending a review of the certification and training records of its 126 reservists.

Glanz, who took office in 1989, has said that he won’t step down because of the shooting, but that he also wouldn’t seek re-election next year.

“Glanz doesn’t see that there’s a problem, and that’s the problem,” said Tulsa native Peggy Pianalto, who volunteered on the petition drive.

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