Ex-Oklahoma sheriff pleads no contest to deputy memo charge

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Posted: Jul 15, 2016 7:11 PM
Ex-Oklahoma sheriff pleads no contest to deputy memo charge

TULSA, Okla. (AP) — A former Oklahoma sheriff who was friends with a reserve deputy who shot and killed an unarmed man last year pleaded no contest Friday to failing to release key information about how the officer was trained.

Stanley Glanz, who was sheriff in Tulsa County, entered his plea to a charge of refusal to perform official duty and was sentenced to a year of jail time, but the judge suspended it.

At the same hearing, he pleaded guilty to willful violation of the law for an unrelated incident in which he received a monthly vehicle stipend while having access to county-owned vehicles. That plea also resulted in a suspended one-year jail sentence.

Both the refusal to perform official duty and willful violation charges are misdemeanors. Glanz and his attorney declined comment after the hearing.

A special grand jury indicted Glanz last September, saying that in the days after Eric Harris was shot dead on a Tulsa street, the sheriff should have shared a 2009 memo that raised questions about reserve deputy Robert Bates' qualifications. Glanz had said the memo was a private personnel record not subject to Oklahoma's open records law.

Glanz, who resigned after being indicted, was longtime friends with Bates, who donated cash, vehicles and equipment to the sheriff's department.

Bates carried a badge and a gun despite questions being raised about his training. He fatally shot Harris during a sting operation in April 2015. Bates has said he confused his stun gun with his handgun and was later convicted of second-degree manslaughter and sentenced to four years in prison.

Harris was black and Bates is white, but Harris' family has said they don't believe race played a role.

"We take no pleasure from this," the Harris family said in a statement Friday, referring to Glanz's pleas to the charges he faced. "It is one more milestone on our road to justice and closure. We sincerely hope that Mr. Glanz has had time to reflect on the mistakes he made which contributed to Eric's death."

They added that transparency from law enforcement builds trust and that "cover-ups and concealment destroy that trust."

"We pray that our new Sheriff learns from Glanz's legacy and does not make the same errors in judgment," the family said.

Ahead of Bates' sentencing, Glanz wrote a letter to the court seeking leniency, saying Bates wasn't a threat. He called Bates' conviction "a terrible injustice for a man that made a terrible mistake in a split second."

According to a special grand jury empaneled after thousands of people petitioned the court to investigate, Glanz wrongly refused to release a memo about Bates' training and willfully violated the law by accepting a $600 monthly vehicle stipend while using county-owned vehicles. After Glanz's pleas Friday, the judge ordered him to pay $7,500 in restitution regarding the stipend.

Bates' training summary was leaked to the media after Harris' shooting. The memo alleged top sheriff's officials knew that Bates was inadequately trained but pressured others to look away. The close tie between Glanz and Bates raised questions about whether reserve deputies were given special treatment in return for financial contributions and other gifts to the agency.

Consultants hired to review Glanz' agency after Harris' death said it suffered from a "system-wide failure of leadership and supervision." They said standards on the use of deadly force were incomplete and confusing.

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Associated Press writers Daniel C. Houston and Ken Miller in Oklahoma City and Kelly P. Kissel in Little Rock, Arkansas, contributed to this report.