Report: Tulsa Cops Told to Fudge Deputy's Training

Robert Bates may not have been as qualified as he claims
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 16, 2015 7:42 AM CDT
Updated Apr 16, 2015 7:46 AM CDT
Report: Supervisors Told to Fudge Deputy's Training
This Tuesday, April 14, 2015, photo provided by the Tulsa County Sheriff's Office in Oklahoma shows Robert Bates.   (Tulsa County Sheriff's Office via AP)

Questions have arisen about how qualified reserve deputy Robert Bates was for the job after he shot and killed Eric Harris in Tulsa, Okla., on April 2, claiming he mistook his firearm for his Taser. Bates' attorney has said his client, charged with second-degree manslaughter in Harris' death, had undergone all required training, CNN reports. Now, however, "multiple" anonymous sources tell the Tulsa World that at least three supervisors were told to falsify the 73-year-old's field training and firearms certification records—and when they refused to do so, they were transferred to other departments. Other discrepancies have also popped up. Bates would have needed 480 hours of field training to qualify as the "advanced reserve" officer he was classified as, but the Tulsa sheriff's office has said he completed just 300 hours, per CNN.

Then there's Bates' tenure as a reserve officer: The department says he started in 2008, but Bates has said he started in 2007, CNN notes. And although the Tulsa sheriff told local radio this week that Bates was certified for three weapons, that paperwork has vanished, as has the person who signed off on it, per the World. Regarding the falsification allegations, the department's undersheriff tells the World, "I have absolutely no knowledge of what you are talking about. There aren't any secrets in law enforcement. Zero." The department also sent an email to CNN stating, "Just keep in mind that the Tulsa World reporter cannot validate her sources and claims anonymity which leaves us skeptical that her claims are unsubstantiated and deceptive." Says a Harris family lawyer, per Business Insider: "An officer who is trained would never get these two weapons confused." (Read more excessive force stories.)

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