By Elaine Magliaro
Tulsa World reported this morning that supervisors at the Tulsa Sheriff’s Office were ordered to falsify training records for Robert Bates, the reserve deputy who accidentally shot Eric Harris with a gun instead of a Taser on April 2nd. The State Medical Examiner said that Harris was shot in the right axilla. He died after being transported to the Tulsa hospital.
Sources told Tulsa World that the falsified records gave Bates “credit for field training he never took and firearms certifications he should not have received.”
Tulsa World said, “At least three of reserve deputy Robert Bates’ supervisors were transferred after refusing to sign off on his state-required training, multiple sources speaking on condition of anonymity told the World.”
Tulsa World reported that the sources’ claims were “corroborated by records, including a statement by Bates after the shooting, that he was certified as an advanced reserve deputy in 2007.”
Bates reportedly provided a statement to the sheriff’s office following the fatal shooting of Harris. In his statement, Bates noted that he had taken “active shooter training” from the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office. Lisa Allen, the “chief media relations office for the sheriff’s office there, said they had no record of Bates attending their training.” She said that training “is only available to members of the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, meaning Bates would not have been eligible.”
An attorney for Harris’ family also raised questions about the authenticity of Bates’ training records.
Additionally, Sheriff Stanley Glanz told a Tulsa radio station this week that Bates had been certified to use three weapons, including a revolver he fired at Harris. However, Glanz said the Sheriff’s Office has not been able to find the paperwork on those certifications.
Evidently, no one has been able to locate “the paperwork for those certifications the Sheriff’s Department said Robert Bates earned by completing hundreds of hours of training.” Crooks and Liars said, “It seems to have mysteriously disappeared right at the point where he mistook his gun for a Taser and shot a man.”
Dylan Goforth, one of the two Tulsa World reporters on the story, said the paper start[ed] hearing “almost immediately” from different sources that Bates’ training records had been falsified.
The newspaper said the Sheriff’s Office provided a list of the courses Bates received credit for, but did not give details such as the names of the supervisors who signed off on the training.
Ziva Branstetter, the other Tulsa World reporter, said she has been asking for the names of the supervisors involved.
Branstetter told CNN’s New Day, “You would think the sheriff’s office, if in fact there has been no pressure applied, no falsification of records, that they would be forthcoming with these documents.” She added, “We’ve asked for them. They’ve said they don’t believe they’re public records.”
The sheriff’s deputy who signed off on Bates’ training and certification reportedly has a new job now. During a radio interview, Glanz said that she had moved on to work for the Secret Service.
Sheriff Glanz “vouched for Bates’ weapons training in a podcast interview, although he said records related to that training were missing.” Glanz told local radio station KFAQ, “Bob went out and qualified with three different weapons with an instructor.”
“We can’t find the records that she supposedly turned in,” Glanz said. “So we are going to talk to her to find out if for sure he’s been qualified with those (weapons).”
Bates, 73, is a wealthy insurance executive. He was charged Monday with second-degree manslaughter in the fatal shooting of Harris during an undercover operation. According to Tulsa World, Bates is a one of more than a hundred wealthy donors who serve as reserve deputies.
Maj. Shannon Clark said, “There are lots of wealthy people in the reserve program. Many of them make donations of items. That’s not unusual at all.”
Clark told CNN that he was skeptical of the newspaper report. In an email that he sent to the news outlet, Clark wrote: “Just keep in mind that the Tulsa World reporter cannot validate her sources and claims anonymity, which leaves us skeptical that her claims are unsubstantiated and deceptive.”
Sheriff Glantz and Bates are reportedly longtime friends.
Raw: Okla. Officer Shoots Gun Instead of Taser (Associated Press)
Report: Sheriffs Falsified Training Documents For Eric Harris’ Shooter (Crooks and Liars)
Pay-to-Play Tulsa Deputy Mistakes Gun For Taser, Kills Unarmed Black Man (Crooks and Liars)