F#ck Your Breath: Rich White Elderly Executive Playing Cop 'Mistakenly' Shoots Unarmed Black Guy Who Dies Having Obscenities Screamed At Him

[[{"fid":"80511","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_css_class[und]":"_none"},"type":"media","attributes":{"class":"media-element file-default _none"}}]]

Another one, even worse. Tulsa officials have charged Reserve Deputy Robert Bates, 73 - a wannabee cop who donated thousands of dollars of stuff to the sheriff's office - with manslaughter after he mistook his gun for a Taser and fatally shot in the back fleeing suspect Eric Harris. There are so many awful parts to this story it's hard to pinpoint the worst, but it's probably the breathtakingly savage moments when, as Harris lies dying, a horde of venomous cops descend on him, kneeing him, slamming him, cussing him out. One commenter to America: "Stop. Killing. Us."

In truth, the story of Eric Harris' death has so many grimly familiar elements we can barely stand to tell it. Harris, 44, was a black ex-con suspected of selling illegal guns; he'd allegedly sold meth to undercover cops a few days before. Bates was a wealthy insurance executive who for years had donated thousands in vehicles, guns, Tasers and other equipment to the office of his friend and fishing buddy of 50 years, Sheriff Stanley Glantz; Bates had also chaired Glantz's 2012 re-election effort and donated to his campaign. It turns out many of the 130 reserve deputies are wealthy donors paying to play cop, and so what says Glantz: "We have alot of people giving themselves to the community."

Nobody seems to know why a septuagenarian pretend cop was present, and armed, during a high-stakes sting operation, but he was. Video - from a cop's sunglasses camera possibly paid for by Bates - recorded it all: The start of the gun "purchase," Harris getting spooked and running for it, several cop cars chasing him, Harris cornered, Bates running toward him yelling "Taser," one shot ringing out, Bates heard saying "Oh! I shot him. I'm sorry." (Really.) Then the video gets truly stomach-churning: Harris, bleeding into the ground, wails, "Oh, God. Oh, he shot me, he shot me." One officer: "You fucking ran. Shut the fuck up." Harris, dying before our eyes: “I’m losing my breath." Officer: "Fuck your breath."

Police first called the shooting an "excusable homicide" - say what? - but later charged Bates with second degree manslaughter, for which he could be fined up to $1,000 or serve four years in prison. Police defended him as "a victim, a true victim, of slips and capture," a legally recognized phenomenon whereby stress causes someone to think they're doing one thing but actually doing something else, like, say, shooting an unarmed guy running away in the back. Sheriff Glantz also defended his old buddy. "He made an error," he said. "How many errors are made in an operating room every week?" Meanwhile, Harris' family grieved, and social media lit up, once more, with rage. From : "After the K.K.K. take off their hoods, they go back to being your police, prosecutors and judges...Just like dogs....In his final moments, he was told he didn't matter....Another day, another hashtag...WTF IS WRONG WITH AMERIKKKA. REST IN PEACE." Several people also cited figures showing that until recently police in America killed a black man every 28 hours. Now, it's every eight hours. Warning: Video - like that mind-numbing statistic, and the murderous actions of way too many sociopaths ostensibly hired to serve and protect - very disturbing.

[[{"fid":"80512","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_css_class[und]":"_none"},"type":"media","attributes":{"class":"media-element file-default _none"}}]]


FRIENDS: Help Us Fight

Independent journalism has become the last firewall against government and corporate lies. Yet, with frightening regularity, independent media sources are losing funding, closing down or being blacked out by Google and Facebook. Never before has independent media been more endangered. If you believe in Common Dreams, if you believe in people-powered independent media, please support us now and help us fight—with truths—against the lies that would smother our democracy. Please help keep Common Dreams alive and growing. Thank you. -- Craig Brown, Co-founder

Support Common DreamsSupport Common Dreams

Share This Article