Indicted Oklahoma sheriff still faces state investigation

AP News
Posted: Oct 05, 2015 4:24 PM

TULSA, Okla. (AP) — An Oklahoma sheriff who was indicted following a grand jury investigation sparked by a volunteer deputy's fatal shooting of a restrained man still faces reviews by the state's top investigative agency and a firm Tulsa County hired to look into the sheriff's department's operations.

Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation spokeswoman Jessica Brown said Monday its agency is still reviewing the April shooting of 44-year-old Eric Harris by Tulsa County reserve deputy Robert Bates. Bates said he mistook his handgun and stun gun when he fatally shot Harris after the unarmed man was allegedly caught up in an illegal gun sales-sting.

Tulsa Sheriff Stanley Glanz, who announced his resignation after he was indicted last week, came under scrutiny because a leaked 2009 memo indicated top sheriff's officials pressured staffers to disregard concerns about Bates' lack of training and told others to look the other way. The state began its own investigation, and Brown said Monday she didn't know how close OSBI is to completing its probe, which could lead to additional charges against Glanz.

A grand jury indicted Glanz on two misdemeanor counts, one of which accuses the sheriff of refusing to perform his official duties by not turning over information about the 2009 investigation into Bates' behavior.

Glanz's resignation is effective Nov. 1, and he's due in court on the misdemeanor counts on Nov. 10. His attorney, Scott Wood, said his client will plead not guilty. A spokesman for Glanz didn't immediately return a phone message seeking comment Monday on the court case.

The Tulsa County reserve deputy program, which came under scrutiny following the shooting, remains suspended indefinitely pending a review of agency operations by a Texas-based firm county officials ordered after the April shooting, Deputy Justin Green, a spokesman for the Tulsa County Sheriff's Office, said Monday. Green said he didn't know when that firm's findings would be ready.

The grand jury that indicted Glanz was empaneled after thousands of people signed a petition calling for an investigation into his office amid the scrutiny that followed Harris' death.

Bates had donated thousands of dollars in cash, cars and equipment to the sheriff's department. His close ties to Glanz and the agency raised questions about the reserve deputy program and whether Bates and others received special treatment in return for the gifts.

Bates, who has pleaded not guilty to second-degree manslaughter in Harris' death, has since left the agency. His trial is scheduled for February.