Remember when those racist OU frat boys sang that catchy tune on a bus about hanging black people from trees and how they'll never be SAEs? Forgot about it, huh?
Well, one of those frat boys was Levi Pettit. A few days after being identified, he met privately with the Oklahoma City African-American community where he apologized, asked for forgiveness, promised to read Invisible Man, listen to Charlie Christian, and all that good stuff.
Following that meeting, Levi then addressed the media via a very controlled press conference in Northeast Oklahoma City. There, with the African-American community leaders behind him, he admitted his mistake, took responsibility for his actions, apologized, and said he was a changed man before likely flying out of the country to get a face change operation and a new identity.
I bring this up because it was all part of well thought out and calculated PR strategy, a term that volunteer Tulsa county deputy and infamous taser confuser Robert Bates has never heard of.
Last Friday, Deputy Oops-That's-Not-A-Taser appeared on The Today Show to discuss how he mistook a taser for a gun and accidentally killed Eric Harris during a police sting operation. While surrounded by either his family or a group of massage therapists that he found shopping for wall ornaments at the neighborhood Hobby Lobby, Bates used the opportunity to apologize and explain that accidentally killing a man was either the first or second worst thing that's ever happened in his life.
Here's the video:
Well, that was awful. I know hindsight is 20/20, but if you can't handle an interview with Matt Lauer, you probably shouldn't be running around town pretending to be licensed deputy. Seriously, what did we just watch? Was he apologizing for killing a man or promoting his family's new massage parlour of sadness? Also, doesn't his lawyer look a bit too much like Stuart Smalley and Willem Dafoe's love child? I almost expected the lawyer to look off into a mirror next to the couch and say "I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone it, people like me!" while the music from Platoon plays in the background.
As if his blundered apology wasn't bad enough, Bates – who, mind you, has been charged with manslaughter – decided to show everyone how remorseful he really is when he asked a judge if it was okay for him to go on a planned family vacation to the Bahama's while on bail. Because we live in a strange place called "Oklahoma," the judge said "Why Not?"
A volunteer Oklahoma deputy charged in the shooting death of an unarmed black man pleaded not guilty Tuesday to second-degree manslaughter and won approval for a controversial family vacation.
A Tulsa judge ordered Reserve Deputy Robert Bates, 73, to return to court July 2 — but approved his request to first vacation in the Bahamas.
The vacation drew an angry response from the family of Eric Harris, who was fatally shot by Bates on April 2.
"Whether intended or not, Mr. Bates' vacationing in the Bahamas at this time sends a message of apathy with respect to the shooting and Eric's life," the Harris family said in a statement released by lawyer Dan Smolen. "At a time when we are still mourning the death of a loved one that he shot down in the street, Mr. Bates will be relaxing and enjoying his wealth and privilege."
I totally agree with the family. What an insensitive schmuck. While they're mourning the loss of a loved one, Deputy Magoo is going to be at the beach living out his own personal Kokomo sipping piña coladas on the beach and getting creepy back rubs from his daughters. Maybe he'll even run into Levi Pettit and some of the other OU SAE's while he's there. You know, if he can recognize him after the face change operation.
Anyway, what do you think about this? Should rich white men charged with manslaughter be allowed to take planned family vacations and get a tropical contact high, or should they be forced to wait around town for their trial? Let us know in the comments.