The Daily Beast offers the following details:
The deputy wasn’t an active member of the sheriff’s Violent Crimes Task Force, which was responsible for the bungled sweep. But Bates has donated thousands in gifts to the office since 2008, the Tulsa World reported.
He is one of many “wealthy people in the reserve program,” which includes 130 volunteer deputies, Maj. Shannon Clark of the sheriff’s office said.
“Many of them make donations of items. That’s not unusual at all,” he added.
Bates’ contributions include vehicles, firearms and stun guns, Clark said. The shooting was recorded via sunglasses cameras worn by police—items that Bates may have purchases himself.
His previous law enforcement credentials include a stint as a Tulsa police officer from 1964 to 1965.
Clark said Bates was an “advanced reserve” and his duties included “anything a full-time deputy can do.”
During this particular encounter, however, Bates would normally be in a support role that includes “keeping notes, doing counter-surveillance, things like that,” Clark told the Tulsa World.The State has a monopoly on legal murder. And as is typical in a corporate democracy where the public commons is for sale, and Austerity, Neoliberalism, and the Culture of Cruelty, are a conjoined beast, anything and everything can be purchased.
The role of public servant in the guise of a police officer is also for sale to adult cop obsessives who possess immature dreams of wearing a uniform and bullying the public.
Yes, race and the colorline are central to the repeated murders of unarmed black people (and other people of color, the poor, and the mentally ill) by America's police. But, the devaluing of black life exists within a society where basic notions of The Public, as well as Public Responsibility and Ownership, are under assault by The 1 Percent.
As a commenter pointed out at The Daily Beast, what other jobs with life and death responsibilities are up for auction to the highest bidder? Doctors? Air traffic controllers? Firefighters? Generals? Elected officials?
[I think we know the answer for the latter.]
Eric Harris is dead because the Tulsa, Oklahoma sheriff's department, in a desire to get more toys for its officers to play with, sold its professionalism and public reputation to the highest bidder.
If Tulsa's police department are doing to allow live action role-players their chance of getting a cheap thrill--as they are likely physically aroused by wearing a cop's uniform, carrying a gun, and being able to turn on a siren--perhaps they should follow the rules that cons such as Wizard and C2E2 use at their events:
Prop weapons will be allowed providing they are composed of cardboard, foam, wood or other light materials. Prop firearms are allowed only if they cannot be mistaken for real weapons. The barrel of all prop firearms must be covered with brightly-colored caps. Prop bows will be allowed providing all arrows have soft tips.
Basically, don't be an idiot.Hopefully, an enterprising journalist will investigate how common it is for rich people to be able to role-play as police officers--the latter with the power of life and death over the public.
If any good comes out of the unnecessary death of Mr. Eric Harris, perhaps it will be a public outing of such irresponsible programs and ensuring that no other people are killed by pay to play incompetent wannabe cops like Bob Bates.