Executive Buys Badge from Tulsa PD, Accidentally Executes Citizen after Confusing his Gun and his Taser

© Josh Sager – April 2015

No, this title is not hyperbolic—it is EXACTLY as bad as it sounds.


Last week, a Tulsa Police Department Reserve Deputy named Robert Bates accidentally shot and killed a suspect—Eric Harris, 44—when he confused his gun and his Taser. At the time, this shooting was tragic but it was largely overshadowed by the other police shootings that have enflamed the nation over recent weeks (primarily the Walter Scott murder).

However, yesterday, Raw Story published an article on this shooting that exposed an extremely serious concern with the shooting which should begin immediate calls for reform.

Robert Bates, the “officer” who shot Eric Harris, is in fact, not a real police officer. He is a 73-year old insurance executive who was made a deputy in exchange for his history of donating money and equipment to the local police department. He was, in effect, given a badge and a gun through the police-equivalent to a Kickstarter donation gift.

Awarding deputy positions to rich donors who give money to a police department is not only morally repugnant, but is also a recipe for disaster. Clearly, this plutocrat-deputy either received only minimal training (officially, they should get hundreds of hours of training, but this hasn’t been confirmed in his case, nor do we have specifics about the training program) or was shoehorned through tests of minimal competency in order to ensure his continued donations—after all, donors might get unhappy if they donate enough to become deputies but are rejected for being incompetent.


While this is simple speculation, I believe that Bates got caught up in the situation and simply lacked the training to choose the proper weapon. He reached for the nearest gun-like object, pulled it, and fired without taking the time to establish whether it was a lethal gun or a non-lethal Taser. He is a 73 years old weekend warrior who shouldn’t have been given a can of pepper spray, never mind a lethal weapon.

If this were an isolated case of donor favoritism, it would be a simple scandal—the idiots who though that handing out a badge as a donation gift would have been fired, Bates and the police would settle the massive lawsuit that is likely on the horizon, and we could all focus on other issues of police abuse. Unfortunately, Bates isn’t alone and the Tulsa Police Department employs many “deputies” who have gotten their position through donating to the police.

Apparently, anybody who is willing to donate a significant amount of money to the Tulsa police and (maybe) sit through hours of instruction, may be able to buy an authentic police officer experience, complete with real weapons and authority to arrest people. While it would be presumptuous to claim knowledge about the motivations of any specific individual who buys their spot as a deputy, I would be confident arguing that this type of program would attract people who want to exercise power over their fellow citizens and have a chance at walking around with a gun, “like a tough guy” (in the same way that Wall Street and the legal profession tend to attract psychopaths who crave power).

These plutocrats masquerading as police officers could be one altercation away from another accident that robs an innocent American of his life…and let’s face it, the people who are most likely to be killed by a panicking, old, white, millionaire playing real-life cops and robbers, are going to be young, black, males (as Harris was).

At the end of the day, I hope that Bates and the Tulsa police department are sued into oblivion by Harris’s family and these losses force police departments to stop this disturbing practice. Police officers should be well-trained professionals, dedicated to preserving public safety, not rich weekend warriors in the midst of a mid-life crisis and an itchy trigger finger.

6 thoughts on “Executive Buys Badge from Tulsa PD, Accidentally Executes Citizen after Confusing his Gun and his Taser

  1. Thank you for exposing this angle. I heard what I thought was a thorough segment on this case on NPR news yesterday, and they mentioned nothing about the badge-peddling scandal.


  2. I read somewhere else that 3 officers refused to sign off on his “training” because he never did any. They were transferred. Someone falsified the paper work. I don’t know if that is true.


  3. At least you were correct when you stated Bates “accidentally” shot and killed Harris. Just so you know, this isn’t the first time that this type of unfortunate accident has happened.


    Even though Bates was a volunteer, he was still a “real police officer” with power of arrest. Reserve law enforcement officers are still required to obtain the same certification that full time law enforcement officers are, they just don’t get paid. Were you aware that Bates had once been a full time police officer for the City of Tulsa from 1964 to 1965?

    By the way. Bates was not a “Tulsa Police Department Reserve Deputy”. He was a reserve deputy with the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Dept., a totally different agency..


    While this incident is tragic and Bates should be held accountable for his actions, let us not forget that it could have been avoided had Harris not made the decision to attempt to illegally sell a gun to an undercover officer and then not attempted to resist arrest by fleeing in the first place. Maybe it would be best if EVERYONE just respected the law and were obedient to those trained and trusted to enforce it. Maybe now criminals will start being scared of police again as they should be and surrender immediately when a they are arrested.

    Food for thought.



  4. If you thought banning guns would give you a country with “the other freedoms you enjoy” , THINK AGAIN!
    “Borrowed” cartoon about civil liberites (modified)

    …And countries such as Australia claim 2 per 100,000 homicide rate but don’t tell you that in all of “a hundred years” pistols have been banned to basic public, too in a hundred years or ever, the main methods of murder at all times through history do not involve firearms, firearms have never managed more than 25 percent of homicides.
    Again the average number of brain dead is twice the rate of the USA’s worst area.

    Anti gunners should remember history of the result of Fascism or Monarchy.(note: neither the Khmer Rouge Cambodian or Rwandan Genocides ever used firearms in principle (most deaths were machete, wooden clubs, iron bars)!!! )

    Great point about the second amendment !
    Australia and Britain and its Commonwealths’ fascism(they are not democracies because there are elite that have total decision “at any time” over “any law” , there is no bill of rights or rights neither freedom of speech) does not start at banning self defense and fire-arms, it bans anything that could give a person personal power, down to building structure requirements !

    It is all deliberate stifle including huge overheads of cost to stifle(not mere required tax).

    Ultra light aircraft constructed are legislatively too flimsy and powerless(because of weight restriction) and must never be flown over a road, and can only be used where they would not find a crash site for three days or you land in a school of sharks!

    The tax on fuel is huge. The roads are designed in a lightning strike symbol “pattern” to cause almost total loss of any speed whether major highway or major road, and those too(major roads) have sharp rising crests and opposite faces you cannot exceed 100kmh going over or a semi-trailer can be caused to “jump” (often been found crashed all over the road on the far side of the highway hill * note: the hill crest speed system i consider murder by the government for how often it causes some sort of damage or accident alike the sudden sharp lightning symbol curve system).
    It’s only purpose when the roads were upgraded around the early 1980’s was to remove larger older 6 cylinder and 8 cylinder down to more powerless 4 cylinder vehicles by causing fuel cost blowout. Too the roads when constructed were “considered improved for greater speed and safety by being six lane interstate highways over the old 4 and two-way” , HOWEVER, nothing could be further from the truth, the new require just as much skill as before and (immensely oddly) at lower speed?!?!?
    It was all a setup knife through the back of Australian motoring in both terms of personal power and economics(they use the same fuel in a modern 4 cylinder sedan (1.5 Tonne) as an old 1960’s six cylinder sedan (2.1 tonne) at 90 – 115 mph).
    With vehicle licenses, if you have any fines from any source, then your license is not renewed, neither a motor vehicle can be sold to a person without the proper current license for the vehicle type. The trouble is that 50 percent of job adverts require “own motor transport to work” or “current drivers license”, so half the jobs able to be applied for are gone and a person cannot pay the fines!
    So uneconomic a point to this they can want nothing with it other than lowering personal power of the individual, particularly upon people they do not perceive as a money earner!
    They would do better on fines and make sense if they banned unpaid drivers from driving “Saturday and Sunday”.

    The Australian government allows itself to bring in Chinese to the electricity grid system at billions of dollars, but you cannot get much “off grid hybrid” support until the cost of connection to the grid is over 50,000AUD and the only “off grid system developed in Australia” costs twice or near twice that, so it’s ok for government to spend billions to China but not for people to pay 20,…-30,000AUD for a hybrid off grid supply! (all the twists and turns about it)
    One small industrial suburbs electricity usage per day is all that is needed to power all the homes in Australia for a day.
    The electricity industry concedes supply to domestic market makes little or no money because of overheads and infrastructure being so much for so little!
    They did nothing in all of the RET scheme to promote wind grid tied to houses on the edge of town or to the rural population (although they did have a price rebate system for “off grid to remote houses – RAPS”).
    All they wanted was everyone put 5kw solr panels on their roofs, this only works during summer to cut electricity bills, but not winter appreciably (note: there are more complex reasons for their underhanded ways in this to extract money e.g. “peak charge” “shoulder period charges”).
    There is truthfully no point beyond a suburb boundary for having grid network supply because of the off grid technology “available(?)” now.

    “article:Christopher Pyne suggests collecting HECS debts from dead students as way to help budget”


    Again, dogs and wolves(Dingoes) are attacked by the government because they are alike keeping a gun SO TAKE NOTE ABOUT RIGHTS AND PERSONAL POWER HERE. These animals have been accepted for centuries as kept guard dogs as much as the family pet, but are now taught to be a brainless, toothless traitor or they will be euthanased for any aggression.
    The government supports idiots whom wish to breed brainless lame psychology into canines as “the selection” and “that is not how psychological health and survival is decreed in nature”.
    This also alike electricity supply has some real merit in suburban areas, but alike firearms not beyond the inaccessible property boundary.
    note: Puppy farms stink(senses) and are cruel so “there can be no failure detecting and finding it” before these animals are sold,( Australia at least i know has had for over 2 decades severely strict animal cruelty laws! ) – Subtle!
    The inferior less aggressive dogs allow “thieves”(an operative method of being alike,or, using actual criminals by suggesting about the contents of the house) to enter property without barking or can be trained by a stranger by treats. The government favorite method is to not discover puppy farms of smaller cavoodle,moodle,mini-spaniels because this causes attachment disorder(non parental or nurturer bonding) of the cute pups and assists the ability for a stranger to train it by treats because the disorder causes disobedience and alienation from the owner(primary carer).
    Dingoes were not allowed to be kept as pets until sometime around the year 2005. The main reason however i could find was they are much more agile flexible and powerful than a domestic breed dog, which translated simply means(a jump to) they can take on two larger police dogs alone and win, and heavier work at it. This doesn’t make much sense to ban their keeping (except in a jail like structure pen) until you understand how much information is collected by snooping and forced entry to houses-property whether thieves or intelligence do that.
    Worse again. i’m finding near all wild dingoes(often referred to as “wild dogs”) in pictures are some sort of “Akita crossbreed or Shiba Inu” with some “ACD Australian Cattle Dog” and “Samoyed” for appearance, it’s made to appear similar to a cuddly toy with dingo markings. A real Dingo is a much skinnier slim taller solid-boned wire-like dog with a flatter head and bigger more solid long muzzle and eyes that are simply mounted and point out to the sides and appear a bit alike human Asian eyes for outline shape, there is no mistaking it from a woolly whoopie cushion!!! , however, they claim these whoopie cushions are pure!!!
    (woolly whoopie cushion) http://windsolarhybridaustralia.x10.mx/fake-dingo.jpg
    (real dingo) http://windsolarhybridaustralia.x10.mx/true-dingo.jpg
    That’s sad, to me it means they are destroying its genetics deliberately!
    Either that or they made an immense blunder in the genome data-base collection!
    If you want to test if there is enough Dingo, hold your hand out to it when it is 10 yards away and it will crouch and look on at you and “potentially come over and bite your hand”, particularly if you simply stand there like a statue and wait!
    A whoopie cushion will probably do what any standard hunting or pig dog will do territoriality for how well socialised it is, A dingo reacts by instinct.

    The XPT rail train when it was brought out in the early 1980’s boasted speed of up to 190KMH , but there is only 60km of track between Sydney and Melbourne it can reach anything alike it. Because freight trains use the track, subsidence occurs causing it too dangerous and its speed was downgraded to maximum 150kmh. However, between Sydney and Melbourne the journey is on winding track it often can go no more than 100kmh and often less and takes 10 to 11 hours for what is in a straight line 600km (six hours at 100kmh or 3 hours at 200kmh)!
    There is a reason they like to keep the rail service crappy. It tends to force people onto airlines and regional airlines where they can take a good old look through everything and invade your home privacy while you are gone for just about anything abnormal or simply not understood that they find in your luggage!

    An annoying pest called a mass killer has presented a problem about personal fire-power and the people are seeking an answer how best to prevent or tackle the mass killer problem.
    Some idiot seems to have suggested listening to the experience of a country(Australia or Britain and any of its Commonwealths) that has many parallels to NAZI Germany and other dictatorial non democracy governments along with severe differences of social environment both physically and morally that indicate while it does not have firearms the initial same physical environment in high density population density may be twice the USA homicide rate without a shot ever fired, which concludes they mean little or nothing as an example of how to handle mass killer situations by or through laws though they banned guns. Quite bizarrely they are near as violent without firearms and perhaps more violent than the USA.

    It appears the price of democracy is a couple extra homicides per 100,000 a year in basic overall average for the USA but indecisive if that is actually the effect from mass killer gunmen or basic motive homicides.

    ….gives a what for democracy…
    “China’s determined feminists detained”
    (Article quote)…”Depending on their aims, activists can be targeted and harassed in China. These men, trying to draw attention to child trafficking are painted with a slogan in China’s Shanxi province in 2013. Photo: Reuters”…

    In Australia and basically any other Britain Commonwealth country , the process of “protest” and “lobbying to change law” before putting it to referendum vote(so called) requires :
    A. a lobby group to be registered before protest and information pushing as a community service announcement.
    B. That group to be accepted for registration by the government to be allowed to be registered !
    So if they do any of that if not accepted or not registered they can be jailed , suppressed and silenced.

    Then there are people in Australia that go to hospital in mid winter in Sydney NSW Australia that have “frost bite”, then require surgery or amputation because “police do not like people to have gloves or Balaclavas” !!!

    There are only around six stores in Sydney NSW sell proper raincoats or raincoat pairs , you almost never find them in many major stores in the CBD !!!

    There are only around eight dedicated archery “retail stores”(physically) around Australia.
    The compound bow is a perfect example alike gloves and balaclava in winter in what police can choose to make of what they find! An archery-bow is no better than a gift wrapped ax handle from a hardware store at killing! against a semi automatic police glock-pistol they rate the same really(subtle but real)!
    Take it or leave it someone can or cannot have an archery-bow in their possession.
    (The law reasonably stipulates whether convicted criminal or innocent record-less person, it is whatever police wish to make of it!).

    When guns were banned in Australia there was a memorable statement by a member of the “sporting shooters party of Australia” …”I would never dream of using my fire-arms in defense or self defense upon a person”…
    In the past couple of years , a woman with an illegal pistol shot an intruder in Sydney NSW whom entered her house and she said he tried to rape her, The court acquitted her!
    A Pakistani or Indian person, premeditated, shot a relative with a pistol that was a child abuser and he was acquitted!
    The government is well aware they are being scrutinized by the international community relating “self defense” because actually self defense is illegal and decided on a per case basis alike hitting someone with a vehicle, the driver is mandatory arrested and charged at a police station with murder.
    However, “these two previous cases” are because current world events showcase the futility and vagueness of personal self defense in Australia(particularly to Australians) and are useful for “keeping the faith” there are crimes people can have outrage for as much keep in place Australia’s “Rohms basher system”.(The law reasonably stipulates whether convicted criminal or innocent record-less person, it is whatever police wish to make of it!).
    If you watch BBC series “Little Britain” (cliche of “little ways” of getting the message or information accross among the “little people”(cliche) and other slang) those are bizarre or complex forms of government and illicit underworld bashings “jobs”

    I loathed people whom took photos of accidents and police incidents, the law was changed in Australia to prevent people except press getting in the way. However, because there is no assurance of any justice or truth because there is no way of finding or enforcing against corruption, such laws should be repealed and any accident or incident should be filmed by passers by in Australia for safety reasons against corruption.

    So what’s the difference between China(PRC) and Australia?
    None i’d say in terms of democracy!

    Redo of Bob Englehart’s cartoon because it does not show what occurs after gun control is in place…

    I almost forgot!!! The Khmer Rouge kept old gun barrels to execute death sentenced prisoners at the burial pits “because bullets cost too much” and they don’t use money and had very little resources , they used a “method of two strikes to the rear of the head using the bare gun barrel” , aside that, the machete on millions of people!

    The pistols have been illegal in Australia since around 1902.

    (You may be interested to know that the following is illegal in Britain and its commonwealth countries but there are various weapons in houses around in Australia) This following IS NOT Australian footage or incident!
    But it is what it can become easily in Australia or Britain in your house (the people in the house won this one but it can appear the opposite)!


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