Tulsa Sheriff Out After Call for Suspension

     TULSA (CN) – Embattled Tulsa County Sheriff Stanley Glanz announced his resignation Wednesday after a grand jury recommended his suspension over a reserve deputy who mistook a gun for a Taser and killed an unarmed black man.
     The announcement came immediately after a grand jury investigating the sheriff’s office recommended Glanz’ suspension, returning ouster proceedings and two misdemeanor criminal indictments.
     One indictment alleges Glanz failed to timely release a 2009 report into whether former volunteer reserve deputy Robert C. Bates was given favorable treatment. Bates was charged with second-degree manslaughter involving culpable negligence after killing Harris on April 2.
     A released body camera video showed Harris running away from deputies as they pulled up to his vehicle. He was chased down, held to the ground and a single gunshot is heard.
     Bates immediately apologized as Harris screamed that he has been shot. As Harris screamed that he couldn’t breathe, an officer said, “Fuck your breath.”
     Police said Harris was being arrested in an undercover investigation of illegal gun sales.
     Three of Bates’ supervisors were transferred after they refused to sign papers that he had received state-required training, The Tulsa World reported. The unidentified deputies were ordered to falsify Bates’ training records to give him credit for field training he never took, and for firearms certifications he should not have received, multiple anonymous sources told the newspaper.
     In a statement announcing his resignation, Glanz said Harris’ death was a “tragedy” for Harris’ family, the community and the sheriff’s office.
     “The shooting has placed a spotlight on this office and my management of the office,” Glanz said in a statement. “I know that my decisions have caused some to criticise me both publicly and privately. As sheriff, I take responsibility for all decisions made by me or in my name but I assure you they were all made in good faith. I truly regret that any of my actions have led to the impaneling of this grand jury, and the disruption of the lives of the jurors and the witnesses.”
     The grand jury investigation was launched after activist group We The People Oklahoma submitted a petition in May. The group thanked its supporters, those who signed the petition and people “who fought for justice in Tulsa County” after Glanz’ announcement.
     “Because of your persistence and hard work, Sheriff Glanz has confirmed that he is immediately stepping down and the grand jury returned with two misdemeanor indictments against him. This is what can happen when a community comes together,” the group posted on Facebook. “You guys did this, and you deserve a pat on the back.”
     The grand jury made several recommendations in its findings, including the implementation of “better accountability” regarding field training hours.
     “The grand jury finds it necessary that the TCSO establish and adhere to policies specifically regarding training and experience requirements for assignment by department,” the 2-page recommendation states. “It has been determined that the method of training and personnel documentation compliance needs to be improved. The grand jury suggests a person or committee specifically tasked with making sure the training and personnel records are complete, uniform, and up to date. These records should be subject [to] a regular audit.”
     In April, Glanz’ former second-in-command resigned for allegedly demanding preferential treatment for Bates. Undersheriff Tim Albin allegedly told Sergeant Randy Chapman “I’m tired of you fucking with this guy and I’m tired of your shit … you’re dicking with Bates … you need to stop messing with him because he does a lot of good for the county,” according to the 2009 report.
     Wealthy donors are among the office’s 130 reserve deputies, Glanz said shortly after Harris’ death. Bates donated several vehicles, guns and stun guns since he became a reserve deputy in 2008.
     Harris’ estate sued in June, joining a county jail prisoner’s earlier civil rights lawsuit. Bates faces up to four years in state prison if convicted.
     “In essence, Bob Bates was not adequately trained, Sheriff Glanz/TCSO acted to cover this up, and Sheriff Glanz/TCSO knowingly and dangerously allowed an undertrained and underqualified 73-year old insurance executive to play cop,” the 56-page amended complaint states. “Eric Harris died as a result.”
     The lawsuit claims the sheriff’s judgment “is badly clouded” by his “unchecked cronyism” that harms inmates and the public.
     “Fundamentally, Sheriff Glanz has exhibited, time and time again, over a period of many years, deliberate indifference to the health and safety of inmates and citizens on the street, alike,” the amended complaint stated. “Sheriff Glanz has displayed a remarkable willingness to place his personal, political and financial relationships over the safety of inmates and the community at large. Whether it is his relationship with the CEO of the former private medical provider at the jail or his relationship with defendant Robert C. Bates, Sheriff Glanz has continually over-prioritized these relationships at the expense of public safety.”

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