Tulsa Deputy Shoots Unarmed Black Man, Says He Meant to Fire Taser

A disturbing bodycam video released by police shows a Tulsa sheriff’s deputy yell “I shot him! I’m sorry!” moments after firing a bullet that would kill unarmed suspect Eric Harris. At the time, Harris was being apprehended by officers after a footchase, and the deputy yelled “Taser, Taser” before shooting him with a handgun. The Reserve Deputy, Robert Bates is white, and the suspect was black. Seconds later, Harris is heard screaming, “He shot me! He shot me, man. Oh, my God. I’m losing my breath,” as other officers, who are pinning his head to the pavement with their knee, yell, “F— your breath … Shut the f— up … You shouldn’t have f—–g ran!” According to some reports, despite a gunshot going off, Bates yelling “I shot him” and the suspect’s desperate pleas, a police official says at least one of the arresting officers did not realize Harris had been shot, and medical attention was not immediately administered.

Police claim that after the cameras were off, they attempted to help Harris and called an EMT. They don’t know why the bodycams were deactivated. Police also claim that they thought Harris could have been armed and on PCP (which is unconfirmed), saying that the shooting was “inadvertent” (they say Bates meant to fire his Taser) and that he was “absolutely a threat when going down.” In the video, Harris is clearly seen running away from officers.

The incident started during a sting operation, when Harris, who has had several past criminal convictions, was filmed selling a gun to an undercover police officer. He attempted to run away when other officers moved in to arrest. The video comes after several other shootings of unarmed black men by white police officers, and has drawn outrage online for how police treated Harris, who died shortly after at the hospital. Bates, who is a 73-year-old insurance executive, is a volunteer reserve deputy who has made large donations to the Tulsa police in the past. The department says he was “thrust into the situation,” and that he “did not commit a crime” in the shooting which killed Harris. State prosecutors are now reviewing the shooting …

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