Video of yet another police shooting of an unarmed black man sent the Internet into an uproar yesterday (Apr. 11). Eric Harris, a Tulsa, OK man, was fatally shot on Apr. 2 by 73-year-old Reserve Deputy Robert Bates during an arrest. Bates claims the shooting was an accident, and that he intended to taser Harris, according to the New York Daily News.
In the minute-long clip, the pursuit of Harris is captured on an officer’s bodycam, as the suspect – who was reportedly in his 40’s – attempted to flee from police on foot. Taken to the ground by an officer, Bates can be heard saying “Taser,” before a gunshot is released. Bates is then heard saying “I shot him, I’m sorry.”
The more disturbing portion of the video, however, comes after Harris suffers the gunshot wound. Screaming in apparent pain, Harris can be heard telling the officers “He shot me! He shot me, man. Oh, my god. I’m losing my breath,” to which he did not receive any aid.
“Fuck your breath. Shut the fuck up,” an officer can be heard replying to Harris’ pleas as he is held down by the neck. He was pronounced dead an hour later.
According to the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office, Harris was being taken into custody for selling a 9mm semiautomatic pistol and ammunition to undercover cops. Police on the scene claim they were unaware that Harris had been shot, though it is audibly declared multiple times in the released footage. Tulsa Police Sgt. Jim Clark remarked that Harris was “absolutely a threat when going down.”
Tulsa Sheriff’s Capt. Billy McKelvey said that police “would not investigate the death unless the sheriff’s office asked them to, and they have not asked us to.”