A wealthy reserve deputy who says he fatally shot an unarmed man because he mistook his gun for his Taser has been allowed to go on a Caribbean vacation for the next month, the Tulsa World reports.
Robert Bates, 73, pleaded not guilty Tuesday to a second-degree manslaughter charge for the killing of Eric Harris earlier this month. Bates’ lawyer told a court Tuesday that the local prosecutor didn’t have “any problem” with his travel to the Bahamas, according to the Tulsa World.
Bates’ plea in Tulsa District Court came after he was required to put up only a $US25,000 bond despite having sold hold his insurance firm in 1999 for about $US6 million, according to another report in the Tulsa World.
Subsequently, he donated thousands of dollars in cars, SUVs, and other equipment to the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office where he would later join as a volunteer, according to records released by the sheriff’s office and cited by the Tulsa World.
In 2008, Bates reportedly became an advanced reserve deputy for the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office. His close ties to the department have raised questions about whether Bates was “paying for the privilege of working alongside real officers,” as the Tulsa World notes.
A Tulsa man was reportedly jailed Monday after being charged only with waving a gun during a road rage incident. He was eventually released on a $US20,000 bond. This individual did not even fire his gun.
Bates has already admitted to shooting Harris dead, was released on a $US25,000 bond without ever spending the night in a jail cell and will now be able to go on vacation despite further reports that he is only certified to use two weapons. Neither was the pistol he fired at Harris, according to local Fox affiliate KOKI.
The Tulsa County Prosecutor’s Office declined to speak on either case, instead referring Business Insider to the Tulsa District Court.
A court clerk reached by Business Insider declined to speak and requested a call back later in the afternoon for further comment on both cases.
We reached out to Bates’ attorney, Clark O. Brewster, and will update this post if we hear back.
Bates is due back in court on July 9.
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