Prosecutors on Monday charged the Tulsa County, Oklahoma reserve sheriff’s deputy who shot and killed an unarmed man earlier this month with second degree manslaughter.
The Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office has said that Robert Bates, who is 73 years old and is white, fatally shot Eric Harris, who was black, on April 2 when he mistook his handgun for a taser while trying to help take Harris into custody.
District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler said in a press release that Bates was charged with second-degree manslaughter for the shooting.
“Mr. Bates is charged with Second-Degree Manslaughter involving culpable negligence,” Kunzweiler said in the release, as quoted by The Tulsa World newspaper. “Oklahoma law defines culpable negligence as ‘the omission to do something which a reasonably careful person would do, or the lack of the usual ordinary care and caution in the performance of an act usually and ordinarily exercised by a person under similar circumstances and conditions.'”
“The defendant is presumed to be innocent under the law but we will be prepared to present evidence at future court hearings,” the release continued.
This post has been updated.