‘Pay to Play’ Cop Who Killed Unarmed Black Man Walks Free

The volunteer deputy in Oklahoma who shot and killed an unarmed black man in 2015 has been granted early release from prison. Bob Bates, 76, was scheduled for early release Thursday, his family confirmed. His discharge from state prison comes about one year and four months after he was sentenced to four years for second-degree manslaughter. As The Daily Beast previously reported, Bates was a reserve deputy for the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office and on a gun-buy sting operation when he mistook his gun for a taser and shot the unarmed suspect. The shocking incident—which was captured on body cameras—killed 44-year-old Eric Harris. In the footage, Harris was being handcuffed as he yelled, “He shot me! He shot me, man. Oh, my god. I’m losing my breath.” One deputy replied, “Fuck your breath,” as Harris lay dying. Bates, a wealthy insurance executive, was a personal friend of former Sheriff Stanley Glanz and donated thousands in equipment and vehicles to the department. On Thursday, Tulsa lawyers representing Harris’ family released a statement vowing to continue pursuing justice: “Now that Mr. Bates is out of prison, it is our expectation that the civil rights suit filed against him and former Sheriff Glanz will finally begin to intensify.”