Remember Robert Bates? Sure you do. He was the old, white Oklahoma man who wanted desperately to be a cop, so he donated loads of money to his local police force and, in turn, was allowed to be a volunteer deputy and participate in ride-alongs and even had a real working gun, which he used to kill Eric Harris in 2015.
Bates was sentenced to four years in prison but walked out after only serving 497 days. He’s since moved to....wait for it....Florida, where he currently lives and recently told a Tulsa news station that he’s sorry for taking a man’s life.
“I feel very bad about it,” Bates told KTUL-TV in his first public comments since being released from prison. “It has been a very disruptive thing in my life. I feel sorry for his son, his ex-wife and family. It bothers me,” Bates said in the interview that aired Thursday.
Bates, 77, was assisting another officer in arresting Harris, who was unarmed and already on the ground when Bates, who had his weapon drawn, shot and killed Harris. Bates claimed that he was reaching for his stun gun when he accidentally pulled his handgun.
Bates was convicted of second-degree manslaughter but served less than half of that time. “He was seen earlier this year allegedly drinking alcohol, which would have violated his parole. But a state Department of Corrections spokesman, Matt Elliott, said an investigation found no evidence that Bates had been drinking,” the Associated Press reports.
Bates claims that even after killing the unarmed man as he was cosplaying a cop, he was shocked when he was sent to prison.
“What kind of purpose did it do to put me in prison? I mean it’s the law, but, you know, I was rather surprised ... that I ended up in prison,” Bates said. “I think I served more than enough time.”
An attorney for Harris’ family did not immediately return the Associated Press’ call seeking comment