The white Oklahoma reserve sheriff's deputy charged with manslaughter in the fatal shooting of an unarmed black man has received threats and been harassed by the media in recent weeks, according to one of his attorneys.
Corbin Brewster, a member of the defense team representing Tulsa County Sheriff's Reserve Deputy Robert Bates, spoke about the threats and other details of the case in a phone interview Friday with TPM.
Brewster (whose father, attorney Clark Brewster, is pictured above with Bates) told TPM that both Bates and his lawyers have received threats referencing the man Bates killed, Eric Harris.
"Random anonymous phone calls which are, I’ll be honest, quite frightening in light of Mr. Harris -- I mean on his Facebook he claims gang affiliation with the Crips," he said. "So when you receive an anonymous threat involving reference to Mr. Harris, I think it’s particularly alarming."
Daniel Smolen, an attorney representing the Harris family, did not immediately respond on Friday afternoon to a request for comment from TPM about the allegations of gang affiliation. Bates told investigators after the shooting that on the day of the undercover operation, Harris was described to him as a convicted felon and a "bad son of a bitch" who had gang affiliations. News reports and statements from the sheriff's office have not identified Harris as a gang member or mentioned any affiliation with a gang.
Brewster also addressed questions about Bates' training that have surfaced in the Tulsa World newspaper. The paper reported, based on anonymous sources, that sheriff's office supervisors had falsified records for firearms and other training for Bates.
What follows is a partial transcript of TPM's conversation with Brewster that has been condensed and lightly edited for clarity.
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