CBS News has found new reasons to doubt the qualifications of a Tulsa reserve deputy who fatally shot a weapons suspect when he mistook his service gun for a Taser.
Robert Bates has been accused of manslaughter for shooting 44-year-old Eric Harris, on April 13 after detaining him for trying to sell weapons to an undercover cop. Bates, who is white, has said he accidentally shot Harris, who is black, with a firearm when he intended to stun him with a Taser.
A 2009 internal review obtained by CBS News and publicized on Wednesday showed that superiors believed Bates received preferential treatment by the department. Bates, who became a reserve deputy in 2007, allegedly stopped drivers without authorization and reacted indignantly when confronted by co-workers in the deputy's office.
The revelations come on the heels of a damning report by The Tulsa World, which found that supervisors were ordered to falsify and improve Bates' training records after the shooting. The sheriff's department denies that allegation.
Records show that Bates became a reserve deputy around the time he became a donor to the Tulsa County Sheriff's Office, according to records compiled by The Tulsa World.
Attorneys for Bates released a selection of his files on April 19 to counter the charge that his records had been fabricated.