“You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say or do can be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you. Do you understand these rights as I have just read them to you?”
Anyone who has watched a TV show or movie involving crime knows about Miranda rights. These are the rights that are read to every person who is taken into police custody. Sometimes, however, an arrest does not go smoothly. Police are sometimes required to use force to apprehend a person who does not comply with the request to surrender. In doing so, however, police officers are expected to use a reasonable amount of force. When that line is crossed, police officers must be held accountable for the injuries, or God forbid, deaths that they cause. In recent years, it has become clear that many officers abuse their power by using excessive force.
On April 2, 2015, officers from the Tulsa, Oklahoma Police Department were conducting an undercover operation involving illegal drugs and guns. The target of the sting operation was Eric Harris, an African American man who was a convicted felon prior to the incident on April 2nd.
According to CBS Local, 73-year-old Bob Bates was one of the officers involved in the operation. Bates was an insurance executive moonlighting as a reserve deputy for the police department.
Police reports say that Harris ran when he saw police. A pursuing officer wearing a body camera chased Harris down and tackled him. As other officers joined the struggle, Bates yelled a warning that he was about to use a taser. He then pulled his handgun out and shot Harris. Bates later claimed that he had meant to use the taser, not his gun. Immediately afterward, a gunshot is heard on the video, as is an apology from Bates.
As Harris lay bleeding, officers continued to cuff him. When he was being cuffed, he gasped, “I’m losing my breath…” On the video, a voice can be heard replying: “(expletive) your breath.” Harris died a short time later.