An internal investigation conducted several years ago found the Tulsa County, Okla. reserve sheriff’s deputy charged with manslaughter in the fatal shooting of an unarmed man had questionable training and was given preferential treatment, CBS News reported Wednesday night.
Reserve Deputy Robert Bates’ training has been called into question since a video surfaced that showed him fatally shooting Eric Harris on April 2. Bates told investigators that he mistook his handgun for his Taser while trying to help bring Harris into custody.
The Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office conducted an internal review in 2009 to determine whether Bates received special treatment during training and in the field, according to CBS News. Bates, a wealthy insurance executive, is a longtime friend of Sheriff Stanley Glanz. He’s also a donor to the sheriff’s office and was the chair of the sheriff’s 2012 re-election committee.
The internal review reportedly found that Bates made unauthorized vehicle stops and used his personal car while on duty. The CBS News report stated that when other deputies confronted Bates with concerns about his behavior, they were told to go see the sheriff if they had a problem with him.
Glanz said in a news conference Monday that there was an investigation conducted “six or seven years ago” into Bates’ training records. He said that investigation found “there was no special treatment.”
A previous report from The Tulsa World newspaper, citing multiple anonymous sources, alleged that supervisors in the sheriff’s office were ordered to sign off on firearms certifications and field training that Bates did not complete. The sheriff’s office disputed that report.
Bates pleaded not guilty to a second-degree manslaughter charge on Tuesday. The judge also approved his request to vacation in the Bahamas.
An attorney for Bates did not immediately respond to a request for comment from TPM on Thursday morning. The reserve deputy’s attorneys, as well as the sheriff’s office, have previously said that Bates was properly trained.