Experts Skeptical Of Volunteer Tulsa Deputy’s Shooting Explanation


The Tulsa volunteer deputy involved in the shooting death of an unarmed man this month, Robert Bates, demonstrated how he confused his pistol with a stun gun during an interview on the “Today” show Friday morning, but law enforcement experts are skeptical about his explanation, reports the Los Angeles Times. “Is it possible? Yeah, but only because it’s not impossible,” said Sid Heal, a retired commander with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and chairman of strategy development for the National Tactical Officers Association. “It’s not very plausible.”

Wayne Fisher, a professor of police policy at Rutgers University, said discussion of Bates’ purported mistake is masking the more serious issue at play in Harris’ death, which happened during a sting operation: Why did the sheriff’s office allow an elderly, inexperienced volunteer to be involved in such an operation, especially if the target was a known felon, as Harris was? “Police work is not a hobby to be engaged in during people’s free time or weekend hours,” Fisher said. “It doesn’t just have to do with the training. It has to do with the experience of being in the profession full time, day in and day out, year after year.”

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