OKLAHOMA — Weeks after a controversial shooting sparked allegations of misconduct in the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office, state officials say they’ve opened an investigation into the department.
Authorities haven’t provided specifics about what they’re looking into. But Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation spokeswoman Jessica Brown said they’re not investigating the April shooting that spurred many of the allegations of misconduct.
The bureau said it would provide a special prosecutor with a written report on its findings once the state investigation, which began Friday, is completed.
The Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office drew national attention in April after Reserve Deputy Robert Bates, a 73-year-old volunteer who’d never led an arrest for the department, was involved in a sting operation and shot dead suspect Eric Harris instead of stunning him with a Taser.
After the shooting, the Harris family alleged Bates — who now faces a second-degree manslaughter charge — didn’t have the proper training but was allowed to wear a uniform because he donated vehicles and other equipment to the Sheriff’s Office.
An internal inquiry by the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office in 2009 concluded that Bates was shown special treatment and that training policies were violated regarding his role with the agency.
The Tulsa World newspaper reported some supervisors in the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office were told to forge Bates’ records and were reassigned when they refused. The Sheriff’s Office denied the allegations in the newspaper’s report. It also declined a CNN interview to respond to the claims.