- Associated Press - Wednesday, July 8, 2015

TULSA, Okla. (AP) - The son of an unarmed man who was fatally shot by a Tulsa County ex-volunteer deputy is questioning the use of public funds to help pay for the sheriff’s fight against a grand jury investigation into the office.

Eric Harris’ son, Aidan Fraley, asked officials during a Tuesday town hall meeting why taxpayers, including members of his own family, will help pay for private attorneys for Sheriff Stanley Glanz.

Robert Bates, who was then a reserve deputy, shot and killed Harris in April after authorities say Harris ran during a gun-sales sting operation. Bates, 73, has pleaded not guilty to second-degree manslaughter in the slaying.

County commissioners approved a contract last week without giving the public the opportunity to weigh in on the matter, allowing the sheriff to retain outside counsel in contesting a grand jury investigation.

The contract was on the agreements portion of the commissioners’ agenda, and items there typically are approved without discussion. Glanz contracted with Tulsa-based McDonald McCann Metcalf & Carwile for legal representation and has said that public funds from the Sheriff’s Office fee account will compensate the firm.

County Commissioner Karen Keith said that she’ll look into any potential recourse to withdrawing the contract approval.

“I have concerns about how that’s being paid for myself,” said Keith, who had called the meeting to give residents an opportunity to weigh in on the matter.

More than 6,600 Tulsa residents petitioned for the investigation into whether Glanz neglected his duties and whether reservists who gave gifts to the sheriff were shown special treatment. His lawyers say some of the signatures were gathered improperly and argue for the petition’s dismissal.

A hearing before an Oklahoma Supreme Court referee on the sheriff’s attempt to block the grand jury is set for July 14.

___

This story has been clarified to show that the name of Eric Harris’ son is Aidan Fraley. The initial version of the story referred to him simply by his first name, Aidan.

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