By Associated Press - Saturday, September 19, 2020

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - A prosecutor has cleared an Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper in the fatal shooting of a man during a traffic stop in northeastern Oklahoma.

Craig County District Attorney Matthew Ballard wrote in a letter to the state Department of Public Safety and released by DPS Friday that Trooper Caleb Cole acted appropriately and was justified in shooting Robert Harris on June 25 during the stop on Interstate 44, also known as the Will Rogers Turnpike, near Vinita.

Ballard said Harris, a passenger in the car, ignored Cole’s orders by sitting in the passenger seat of the vehicle and reaching behind himself with his hands as Cole was attempting to search him.

Ballard said Harris was shot when he brought his hands forward with what appeared to be gun and that a handgun was found in the car after the shooting.

Ballard wrote that Cole had stopped the car because its temporary tag was unreadable and was attempting to search Harris for weapons and drugs after the trooper noticed the smell of marijuana coming from the car and seeing Harris act nervously.

Cole and the woman who had been driving the car were not injured.

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