- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 30, 2015

TULSA, Okla. (AP) - A grand jury indicted an Oklahoma sheriff on Wednesday as part of an investigation into his office that began after an unarmed man was fatally shot by a volunteer deputy who said he mistook his handgun for a stun gun.

Tulsa Sheriff Stanley Glanz, who was indicted on two misdemeanor charges, is accused of refusing to perform his official duties for not promptly releasing documents in an internal investigation related to reserve deputy Robert Bates, Glanz’s longtime friend. Bates’ training and the reserve deputy program came into question after Bates, a former insurance executive, fatally shot a restrained man in April.

Glanz, who plans to resign before a Nov. 10 hearing in the case, said he had always tried to be transparent and make good decisions during his 27 years as sheriff. He said he told grand jurors he would resign if they concluded that was best, which they did in a report released during a court hearing Wednesday.

“I know that my decisions have caused some to criticize me both publicly and privately,” he said in a two-page statement released late Wednesday. “As sheriff, I take responsibility for all decisions made by me or in my name, but I assure you they were all made in good faith. I truly regret that any of my actions have led to the impaneling of this grand jury, and the disruptions in the lives of the jurors and the witnesses.”

Glanz plans to plead not guilty, his attorney said. Glanz didn’t attend the hearing.

“Sheriff Glanz respects the process,” attorney Scott Wood said outside the courtroom. “He respects the people.”

The grand jury was called after thousands of people signed a petition calling for an investigation into Glanz’s office following the death of Eric Harris. Bates is accused of shooting Harris, who was caught up in an alleged illegal gun-sales sting, while Harris was restrained by a sheriff’s deputy. Bates - who has pleaded not guilty to second-degree manslaughter in the case - has since left the agency.

Bates had donated thousands of dollars in cash, cars and equipment to the sheriff’s office. His close ties to Glanz and the agency raised questions about the reserve deputy program and whether Bates and others received special treatment in return for the gifts.

Harris’ brother, Andre Harris, declined to comment after the court hearing Wednesday.

Local civil rights organizer Marq Lewis said the indictment marked a win for residents.

“We got justice today,” said Lewis, who leads We the People Oklahoma, the group that organized the grand-jury petition drive. “This is a statement to never bet against the citizens, the people of Tulsa County. We are citizens who count, we matter and we make a difference.”

Wednesday’s court hearing was called just hours after grand jurors said they had completed their investigation. Grand jurors met behind closed doors for nine weeks and interviewed more than 30 witnesses, including Glanz.

The documents were given to District Judge Rebecca Nightingale earlier in the day in five sealed envelopes. Some documents remain under seal.

The grand jury also made eight recommendations, including that the sheriff’s office improve its training and documentation, including better accountability of field training hours. It also suggested that the office’s internal affairs department be more autonomous.

The recommendations appeared to address a leaked 2009 memo that alleged top sheriff’s office officials knew Bates was inadequately trained but pressured other officers to look away.

Among the witnesses who testified before the grand jury was a corporal in the internal affairs division, Warren Crittenden, who said he was pressured to sign off on memos saying Bates was qualified for duty.

Crittenden told investigators in the 2009 memo that he feared he’d be transferred if he didn’t OK paperwork stating that Bates had completed his training at 328 hours, which violated policy requiring 480 hours of training, according to the report.

The grand jury also heard from sheriff’s corporal Bill Adams, who called the memo “very accurate,” and said that Glanz could have done more to address its findings.

Both Crittenden and Adams also have left the agency.

___

This story has been updated to correct the spelling of the sheriff’s first name to Stanley, not Staley.


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