- Associated Press - Monday, August 17, 2015

TULSA, Okla. (AP) - Newly-released records show a volunteer Tulsa County sheriff’s deputy was involved in six separate use-of-force incidents during a five-year period including the fatal shooting of an unarmed man in April that sparked a grand jury probe of the reserve deputy program.

The Tulsa World (https://bit.ly/1JmP5tI ) reported that grand jurors reconvened at the Tulsa County Courthouse to begin a third week of inquiry into Sheriff Stanley Glanz and whether reserve deputies were properly trained and qualified to serve on special units, among other things.

The grand jury probe was launched after a signature drive by citizens following the April shooting death of Eric Harris, who was unarmed and subdued on the ground, by reserve deputy Robert Bates, a personal friend of Glanz who donated thousands of dollars’ worth of vehicles and equipment to the department.

Bates has pleaded not guilty to second degree manslaughter and faces a jury trial next year.

A Tulsa World review of use-of-force incidents by advanced reserve deputies since 2010 show Bates fired a handgun twice, a pepper ball gun twice and used a Taser once. He also drew his firearm once but didn’t shoot.

Bates’ attorney, Clark Brewster, said he doesn’t think the number of time Bates used force is problematic, given his work as a volunteer on the drug crime task force, which works in some of the most violent and drug-plagued areas of the city.

“If you looked at the hours worked and the nature of the investigations that he was helping in, I don’t think that would be a number that would be alarming,” Brewster told The Associated Press on Monday.

The newspaper requested use-of-force reports for all advanced reserve deputies - which includes the 74-year-old insurance executive - from Jan. 1, 2010, through April 30, 2015. The Sheriff’s Office provided logs of 13 reserves that totaled 54 reports in the five-year, four-month stretch.

The logs list only four of the use-of-force cases involving Bates. However, Bates has at least six. The Harris shooting and Bates’ use of a Taser on Terry Byrum - the two most recent - weren’t listed.

General counsel Meredith Baker said use-of-force records for those two cases don’t exist.

“The TCSO is not in possession of use of force reports authored by former Reserve Deputy Bob Bates related to Terry Byrum or Eric Harris,” Baker stated in an email to the newspaper.

Byrum, 31, was pulled over for a traffic stop on Feb. 12 by a full-time deputy as part of a Drug Task Force operation, according to his arrest report. The report states Bates used his Taser on Byrum while Byrum was handcuffed on the ground.

Records indicate Bates’ other uses of force were:

Firing his handgun once at a pit bull during a “confrontation” Jan. 31, 2012, while serving a search warrant.

Shooting two rounds from his pepper ball gun at two pit bulls on March 20, 2012, during service of a narcotics search warrant.

Using his pepper-ball gun to fire 11 rounds into a residence to remove a suspect May 18, 2011, while serving a search warrant. Six windows were broken.

Displaying his firearm during service of a narcotics search warrant Sept. 29, 2010. An arrest report indicates Bates and another deputy “secured” a person who fled from the back door of the residence.

The use-of-force forms are filled out by each deputy, said sheriff’s office spokesman Justin Green. Bates’ reports don’t offer explanations of why force was used.

The Sheriff’s Office declined to provide more details surrounding each of Bates’ use-of-force encounters, as well as if they were justified.

A Sheriff’s Office annual analysis for 2012 shows all 198 instances of use of force that calendar year were within policy and procedure.


Information from: Tulsa World, https://www.tulsaworld.com

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