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Deputy Oops-That’s-Not-A-Taser’s wife is blaming the media…

Yesterday afternoon, a judge sentenced former Tulsa County Pretend Deputy Robert Bates to four years in prison for killing Eric Harris during an undercover sting operation. If you remember correctly, Harris was being held on the ground by several law enforcement officials when Bates felt the need to taze him. The problem? Bates inadvertently fired his handgun and fatally shot Harris in the back instead.

Via The Tulsa World:

A Tulsa County judge on Tuesday followed a jury’s recommendation to order the maximum punishment of four years in prison for former Tulsa County Reserve Sheriff’s Deputy Robert Bates, who was convicted of second-degree manslaughter last month.

At the conclusion of a nearly four-hour long hearing with testimony from nine witnesses and statements from Bates himself, District Judge William Musseman’s order drew reactionary cries from the packed courtroom.

The sentencing came about a month after a jury found 74-year-old Bates guilty of the charge, which asserts that he was culpably negligent in mistaking his gun for a Taser and fatally shooting 44-year-old Eric Harris, who was unarmed and the target of an undercover gun-sale operation, on April 2, 2015.

Musseman decided the punishment based not only on the jury’s recommendation but also a presentencing investigation conducted after the trial, in addition to statements made by family members and others in support of each side.

I haven't followed the case as closely as others, but the sentence seems fair to me. As Uncle Ben said, "With great power comes great responsibility," so if you're going to moonlight as a Sheriff's deputy and carry around badge and loaded gun to get a hard on, you better be willing to pay the price if you, say, accidentally shoot an unarmed man in the back while he's being held down by the entire Tulsa County sheriff's department.

Bates's wife respectfully disagrees with that sentiment. She thinks the sentence was way too harsh, and claims it's the media's fault:

Let me get this straight. Your husband shoots a man in the back, is sentenced to four years in prison, and you're blaming the media? Uhm, who does this woman think she is? An Oklahoma legislator?

If anything, she should be thanking the media for their relentless coverage of this case. If something like this happened even five years ago, it probably would have been swept under the rug and Bates would be walking around as a free man with a badge and a gun. Now, thanks to the media, people in power are now being held accountable for their crimes. I'm very appreciative of that.

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