Civil Lawsuit Against Tulsa County Reserve Deputy in Eric Harris’ Death Continues

From left, Robert Bates, a former Oklahoma volunteer sheriff’s deputy who said he mistook his handgun for his stun gun when he fatally shot an unarmed suspect in 2015, and Eric Harris, the suspect who was shot.

A federal judge has declined to dismiss a civil rights lawsuit filed against six defendants by the estate of Eric Harris, who was shot to death while being detained by Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office personnel.

The ruling Thursday by U.S. District Judge John Dowdell clears the way for the lawsuit to move to the discovery stage.

Harris was shot to death April 2, 2015, by former Tulsa County Reserve Deputy Robert Bates, who said he mistook his handgun for a Taser when he fired the revolver into Harris’ back while other deputies held Harris on the ground.

Harris had briefly fled from deputies during an undercover gun sting.

The estate of Harris filed a civil lawsuit Jan. 6, 2016, in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma, naming Bates, former Tulsa County Sheriff Stanley Glanz, Tulsa County Sheriff Vic Regalado and deputies Michael Huckeby, Joseph Byars and Ricardo Vaca. Huckeby is no longer employed by the Sheriff’s Office.

A jury subsequently found Bates guilty of second-degree manslaughter in Harris’ death.

Bates, 76, served about 18 months of a four-year sentence before being released from prison in October.

The civil lawsuit brought by Harris’ estate claims Sheriff’s Office personnel used excessive force and were deliberately indifferent to Harris’ serious medical needs after he was shot. The lawsuit alleges Glanz should be held personally liable for Harris’ death because the sheriff failed to train and supervise Bates.

Bates claimed the lawsuit should be dismissed because the shooting was accidental.

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Filming Cops
Filming Cops 3206 posts

Filming Cops was started in 2010 as a conglomerative blogging service documenting police abuse. The aim isn’t to demonize the natural concept of security provision as such, but to highlight specific cases of State-monopolized police brutality that are otherwise ignored by traditional media outlets.

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  • Sgt. Killgood

    Bates claimed the lawsuit should be dismissed because the shooting was accidental . So if you accidentally kill a cop while fearing for your life , during a traffic stop . It’s ok .