- Associated Press - Tuesday, August 18, 2015

TULSA, Okla. (AP) - A grand jury investigating an Oklahoma sheriff’s department where a volunteer deputy fatally shot an unarmed man has heard from five former or current agency employees mentioned in a 2009 memo that raised questions about reserve deputy training.

The grand jury, which has met for seven days, began looking into the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office after residents petitioned for an investigation following the April shooting.

Robert Bates, who has since left the reserve deputy program, has pleaded not guilty to second-degree manslaughter in the shooting. Bates is a friend of Sheriff Stanley Glanz and made donations to the agency, raising questions about whether Bates received special treatment.

Grand jury proceedings are closed. However, reporters have seen 12 people go into the jury room to testify, five of whom were mentioned in the 2009 memo that revealed serious concerns about Bates’ training. None of them have revealed details about their testimony.

Among the witnesses was former Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office Undersheriff Brian Edwards, who ordered the 2009 report. Edwards, who left the sheriff’s department in 2012 for another job in law enforcement, declined to comment on his testimony outside of court.

Glanz and two higher-ups at the department haven’t been subpoenaed, an agency spokesman said Tuesday. Bates’ lawyer was out of town Tuesday and didn’t know whether Bates had been subpoenaed.

Others the jury has heard from include Capt. Eric Kitch, who had sent a suspension letter to Bates along with 18 other reserve deputies for failing to meet firearm qualifications, and Sgt. Randy Chapman, who is documented in the report as complaining to a superior that Bates was driving a personal car with police equipment prior to having the requisite training.

Capt. Rob Lillard, who conducted the investigation at Edwards’ request, also appeared, but said nothing as he walked past reporters.

Shannon Clark, a former spokesman for the agency who claims he was wrongfully fired in May, also testified. The 2009 memo indicates he was less involved than the others in the allegations directly related to Bates.

Glanz had hired an outside law firm at county commissioners’ approval to fight the grand jury case all the way to the Oklahoma Supreme Court, where he lost. His legal fees have so far cost the county nearly $13,000, according to an invoice released by the agency to reporters on Tuesday.

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