The hashtagged named of a man you may not be familiar with means its happened again. Back on April 2, an unarmed Oklahoma Black man, Eric Harris, was “inadvertently” shot and killed by a Tulsa
police officer reserve deputy who mistook his taser for a gun after a foot chase. In released footage of the incident, an officer is heard saying “F*ck your breath” as the doomed Harris repeatedly says he can’t breathe, and that he’s been shot.
Reports the New York Daily News:
It was a mistake.
That’s the blasé explanation Oklahoma officials gave after the fatal shooting of an unarmed black man by a white deputy who accidentally pulled his gun when he meant to use his Taser.
The botched encounter was captured on a disturbing video released by police on Friday — nine days after the fatal Tulsa shooting.
“He shot me! He shot me, man. Oh, my god. I’m losing my breath,” Eric Harris says as he struggles on the ground following the April 2 shooting, which flew under the radar until video emerged a week later.
“F— your breath,” a callous officer can be heard saying. “Shut the f— up!”
It was reserve Deputy Robert Bates, 73, who fired the fatal shot, and who is reportedly heard saying “I shot him…I’m sorry” in the graphic footage.
Bates had been assisting officers in a sting operation where Harris was selling firearms to undercover cops.
Regardless of the crime Harris committed, the man was unarmed and the authorities admitted a mistake was made. However, according to Tulsa Police Sgt. Jim Clark, Bates committed no crime.
Says Tulsa World:
Clark added that the Sheriff’s Office’s policies are in line with national standards.
The completed investigation was turned over to prosecutors Friday afternoon for review.
In dire situations, Clark said it’s typical for law enforcement officers to experience diminished hearing, tunnel vision or heightened visual clarity or go into “auto pilot.” What sometimes results, he said, is a person’s behavior “slips” off the path of his or her intention because it is “captured” by a stronger response and sent in a different direction.
Because of the rapidly unfolding and dangerous situation, Clark said, Bates thought he had holstered his gun and drawn his Taser, when in fact he had not. To further illustrate the point, Clark noted that Bates dropped the handgun because he wasn’t expecting the recoil. A Taser has no recoil, he said.
Also, the authorities claim they were unaware Harris had been shot.
Tulsa County Sheriff’s Capt. Billy McKelvey said the deputies were not aware that he had been shot, having not heard the round. As soon as they realized he was wounded, they rendered aid and radioed for paramedics and firefighters, McKelvey said.
Investigators later learned that Harris was unarmed.
The Sheriff’s Office placed weapons identical to the ones Bates had on a table for examination.
McKelvey, a certified firearms instructor, explained that the Taser and the .38-caliber pistol were both equipped with laser sights. When gripping either one, the laser is activated, he said, also noting that the two have similar weights. The handgun weighs 11.4 ounces, while the Taser weighs 12.6 ounces.
If the gun and Taser are so damn similar, how about you pick just one so that you remove the option of making such a fatal mistake?
Are you buying what these Tulsa cops are selling? Let us know in the comments.