TULSA, Okla. – An Oklahoma county will pay $6 million to settle a federal civil rights lawsuit filed by the family of an unarmed black man who was fatally shot by a white former sheriff's reserve deputy, according to court documents filed Friday.
Tulsa County commissioners on Feb. 26 approved the settlement with the estate of Eric Harris, who was fatally shot in a Tulsa street by ex-volunteer deputy Robert Bates during an illegal gun sales sting. Harris was already being restrained by deputies when Bates shot Harris.
The 76-year-old Bates, who said he confused his stun gun with his handgun when he shot Harris in April 2015, was convicted of second-degree manslaughter. He was released in October after serving less than half of his four-year sentence.
Sheriff Vic Regalado said in a statement Friday he believes the settlement "will allow the process of healing to continue for the Harris family, the citizens of Tulsa County and the hard working men and women of the Tulsa County Sheriff's Office."
Harris family attorney Dan Smolen said Harris' legacy brings hope for "some measure of justice and accountability" when a law officer "violates the rights and takes the life of an African-American citizen."
The Harris shooting drew thousands of county residents to petition for a grand jury to investigate allegations that Bates was unqualified to serve as a deputy but kept on the force because of his friendship with indicted ex-Sheriff Stanley Glanz.
Glanz, a fishing buddy of Bates, was indicted in September 2015, accused of failing to release a 2009 internal report that raised serious concerns about Bates' ability to do its job.
The memo, which was leaked to reporters in the weeks after Harris was killed, alleged superiors knew Bates didn't have enough training but pressured others to look the other way because of the wealthy insurance executive's relationship with the sheriff and close ties to the agency, which included donating thousands of dollars in cash, vehicles and equipment to the department.
Source: FOXNews.com — Read: Original Article