Updated: People protested the shooting and death of suspected illegal gun dealer Eric Harris last evening in downtown Tulsa.
The Tulsa County Reserve Deputy, Bob Bates, who shot Harris during an arrest turned himself in Tuesday after being charged with 2nd degree manslaughter by Tulsa County District Attorney Steve Kunzeiler.
KOTV reports that nearly 100 people walked from the courthouse down to the sheriff’s office, chanting things like, “No justice, no peace.”
The protesters answered a call from a press release distributed by Oklahoma NAACP officials earlier Tuesday titled, “We the People Oklahoma.”
The release and call to action said:
WE THE PEOPLE OKLAHOMA formally request a meeting with the local Tulsa Sheriff department to discuss information concerning the fatal shooting of Eric Harris. It is necessary for a full and thorough investigation to make certain that justice is served in this and every other incident involving police shootings and allegations of brutality. WE THE PEOPLE OKLAHOMA will continue to push for solutions in our criminal justice system that help to keep our communities safe and our law enforcement officers properly trained and engaged with the people they have sworn to protect.
WE THE PEOPLE of OKLAHOMA hereby make a request for information pertaining to the fatal shooting of Mr. Harris. This information should include but not be limited to:
* Number of current reserve officers
* Donations to the Sheriff Department by reserve officers
* Name and history of officer who stated “Fuck Your Breath” to Mr. Harris
* Request the immediate firing of above officer
As the District Attorney has filed charges against Bates; the assembled group of protesters, as has been the case in other cities, seek to usurp the justice process.
“It’s time to hold law enforcement responsible for their use and sometimes abuse of power,” protester Ray Davis told KOTV apparently oblivious of the fact that holding Bates responsible is exactly what a 2nd degree manslaughter charge does in this case.
Protester and persistent public gadfly Paul Tay well known for riding a bicycle dressed as Santa Clause told KOTV, “Why are black guys getting shot down more than white people? Or Asian people, for that matter.”
The 73-year-old reserve deputy maintains he went for his Taser, but grabbed his gun by mistake in shooting Harris.
Defense Attorney Clark Brewster said Bates’ 2nd degree manslaughter charge is unwarranted, and so are the allegations that Bates paid off the sheriff’s office to become a reserve deputy.
“They’ve taken the fact that this man has been good to the community, and has been benevolent to the community, and has been a great citizen for our town and made it something bad or sinister,” Brewster told KOTV.
To view the video report from KOTV click the following link: Hundreds Gather In Downtown Tulsa To Protest Fatal Shooting.
For video of the stake out and take down by officers, click here for a previous Tulsa Today story.
The President of the Oklahoma NAACP, Mr. Douglas, sent the PDF press release to his entire media list – we are on that list – we get a lot of mail from him. We did not say he wrote it or organized the event, but that he “distributed” the release.
We changed the word “mob” to “group of protesters,” but, as the group was demanding action before the justice system has had an opportunity to work, maybe “polite mob” would have been appropriate. This is not the wild west and the reserve officer has been charged. Justice is deliberate and will be determined after facts are presented to the court.
NAACP had nothing to do with this and did not release the statement. We The People Oklahoma is independent of the NAACP. Your description of “mob” is inflamatory and inacurate. It was a group of people who were concerned about the issues of this case and others. Defaming the character of concerned citizens who wish to have their voices heard should be below the dignity of the profession of journalism.