73-Year-Old Volunteer Cop who Shot Unarmed Black Man by Accident Turns Himself In
'Oh, I shot him! I'm sorry!'
A grim volunteer deputy sheriff turned himself in today to face manslaughter charges after the shooting that proved fatal for one man.
And now everyone's asking, why was a 73-year-old CEO of an insurance company taking part in a dangerous undercover sting operation?
Nancy Grace of HLN told INSIDE EDITION, "It's really confounding to me that Mr. Bates, the 73-year-old owner of his own insurance company, also has full-fledged authority as an advanced deputy sheriff's reserve to do anything a sheriff can do - that's not right!"
One police surveillance video showed the convicted felon, Eric Courtney Harris, trying to sell a gun to an undercover cop when he saw a cop car pull up.
He was tackled to the ground, and that was when Robert Bates appeared on the scene, ready to help subdue the suspect with a taser.
But instead, Bates claims, he pulled out his gun by mistake!
Bates said, "Oh, I shot him! I'm sorry!"
Watch: Video May Show Officer Plant Evidence After He Shot An Unarmed Black Man in Back
Grace added, "Think about it. 'I meant to taser him, and I shot him dead instead?'"
Law enforcement consultant Tom Burney said it's hard to mistake the gun for the taser. He added, "The taser and the firearm are generally in two different places, and that's for a purpose. That's to try to avoid that from happening."
Now some are asking, did Bates buy his way onto the volunteer police force? He lives in an upscale home in Tulsa, and is known to have donated cars and video equipment to the sheriff's office.
INSIDE EDITION's Les Trent asked Courtney Harris's brother, Andre, "Does it appear to you that he paid to play cop?"
He responded, "That's very obvious. As my brother's detained on the ground, he just walks up and shoots him. I mean, at 73 how long was this guy going to hang around? Until he was 90?"
He says Bates never should have been on the scene.
If convicted, Bates faces up to four years behind bars.
The shooting comes in the wake of the fatal shooting of Walter Scott,who was shot in the back, in South Carolina.
And there was one brutal beating of a suspect who attempted to flee on horseback in California's Mojave Desert. That man spoke to the Today show and you can still see the bruises on his face.
The last thing law enforcement needs now is another controversy.
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