The Oklahoma sheriff who allowed his rich friend to buy a badge and gun and play deputy with the big boys – only for the 73-year-old insurance salesman to shoot a man in the back – was indicted on three criminal charges last week, forcing the sheriff’s resignation.
At least one of the charges pertains to allegations that Tulsa County Sheriff Stanley Glanz used his authority to withhold records in order to protect his wealthy buddy, Robert Bates, who shot a man in the back during a struggle with other deputies.
The suspect, Eric Harris, 44, ended up dying, gasping for air, telling deputies he was losing his breath.
“Fuck your breath,” Tulsa County sheriff’s deputy Joseph Byars responded.
The incident was captured on a deputy’s bodycam in a video that went viral, drawing thousands of unwanted eyes in their direction.
Bates said he was merely trying to tase Harris, who was already underneath a pile of deputies attempting to handcuff him.
In the moments after he pulled the trigger, Bates dropped the gun and apologized for shooting Harris, a 44-year-old man who had just sold an illegal gun to an undercover deputy.
Harris, who was not armed, expressed shock at being shot.
“He shot me! He shot me, man. Oh, my god. I’m losing my breath,” Harris says.
“Fuck your breath,” a deputy responds. “Shut the fuck up!”
Harris ended up dying and Bates was charged with second-degree manslaughter and is awaiting trail.
In the ensuing investigation, it was determined that Glanz ordered deputies to falsify training documents pertaining to Bates, giving him credit for training he never received. Training that might have prevented him from pulling his gun instead of his taser.
It was also revealed that Bates had lavished the sheriff with gifts and trips, which was why he was allowed to play deputy with the others.
Two of three charges Glanz is facing are misdemeanors. A third charge remained sealed, so it’s not clear what it is.
According to the Washington Post:
One allegation states that this preferential treatment created a dangerous situation during a shooting range incident.
Bates “was verbally reprimanded more than once for dangerous behavior with his weapon on the line,” according to the grand jury’s accusations. “Reserve Deputy Bates then became angry and refused to complete the firing range round, instead holstering his firearm and crossing his arms for the remainder of the course, resulting in a failing score.”
Glanz contacted the instructors and told them to “take it easy” and “pass him.”
Another allegation states that Bates was permitted to carry firearms that were not in accordance with department policy.
In all there are eight allegations against Glanz that include habitual or willful neglect of duty, gross partiality in office, oppression in office, corruption in office and willful maladministration.
Glanz, who has been sheriff since 1989, at first refused to resign, but then changed his mind. He will remain in office until November 1. And an election to replace him will be held in April with candidates already coming forward.