“Fuck Your Breath”: Officer Caught On Tape Mocking Yet Another Black Man Fatally Shot By Police

On Friday, the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Department released video of a reserve deputy “accidentally” shooting unarmed Black man, Eric Harris, when he fled from police following an undercover sting operation on April 2. The graphic video shows Reserve Deputy Robert Charles “Bob” Bates and other officers pursuing Harris on foot before catching up to him and wrestling him to the ground. Bates then shouts “Taser” twice before a single gun shot is heard. According to the Sheriff’s department, the video is intended to show that Bates thought he had reached for his Taser, but accidentally pulled his gun instead, making Bates — yes, the officer — the “true victim” of what is known as “slips and capture,” a police term for when an officer thinks they’re doing one thing, when they’re in fact doing another in a high stress situation. Harris, the actual fucking victim, died an hour later.

But what the video also shows is the complete callousness with which the other officers reacted. After being shot, Harris can be heard saying, “Oh shit man, he shot me, he shot me! Oh, he shot me!”, as an officer puts his knee on Harris’s head to subdue him. “Shut the fuck up,” the officer says. Then, when Harris tells the officers, “I’m losing my breath,” another officer can be heard saying, “Fuck your breath,” as Harris lies face down and bleeding to death. Tulsa County Sheriff’s Capt. Billy McKelvey claimed at Friday’s press conference that the other officers were unaware that Harris had been shot.

As for Reserve Deputy Bates? According to Think Progress:

He is a 73-year-old insurance executive and a wealthy donor to the sheriff’s department. The department includes 130 reserve deputies who are volunteers who donate their time to law enforcement. Bates is classified as “advanced reserve,” the highest level of reserve deputy, a position that permits him to “do anything a full-time deputy can do.”

Bates did serve as a full-time police officer for one year — in 1964 and 1965 — and he had to complete 800 hours of training to be classified as advanced reserve. Once they have completed this training, however, an advanced reserve deputy must only serve for 40 hours every six months in order to maintain their certification.

The Tulsa County Police Department has determined that Bates committed no crime and did not violate any police policies, which I guess means he’s free to continue serving as an armed occasional member of the police department. [Think Progress]