Court Clears Grand Jury Probe of Tulsa Sheriff

     (CN) – The Oklahoma Supreme Court unanimously refused to delay a grand jury investigation into the practices Tulsa County sheriff in the wake of a shooting scandal involving a volunteer reserve officer.
     The decision allows for a probe to commence this week into whether Sheriff Stanley Glanz neglected his duties, with specific attention being directed at discovering if special treatment was given to volunteer reservists who made large donations to the sheriff, according The New York Times.
     “There have been discussions about how to more effectively run the Tulsa County Jail,” advocacy group We the People Oklahoma said in a statement. “However, we hope that those involved do not forget that the people should have a say in this as well.”
     We the People Oklahoma circulated a petition that called for the investigation and successfully obtained over 6,000 voter signatures.
     The issue came to national prominence earlier this year when volunteer Robert Bates fatally shot a man, Eric Harris, while he was restrained on the ground. The shooting death raised questions about the training of volunteer deputies and why Bates was even in the position to fire a weapon at a suspect in the first place.
     Bates has said he mistook his handgun for a Taser, and recently pleaded not guilty to manslaughter charges stemming from the Harris killing.
     Attorneys for Glanz tried to block the grand jury from meeting on an appeal to Oklahoma’s high court after a district court judge rejected the sheriff’s claims that petitioners made several mistakes while collecting signatures for the petition.
     Last week’s decision by the high court clears the way for the grand jury to begin investigating immediately.
     Tulsa County’s reserve-deputy program has been temporarily suspended while training records of reservists are reviewed, also according to the Times.

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