TULSA, Okla. (AP) — An Oklahoma sheriff’s corporal said Wednesday that the leader of the department should have taken action after an internal memo raised questions about the training and workplace behavior of a volunteer deputy who later fatally shot an unarmed man.
Bill Adams, who left the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office in 2010 after clashing with supervisors, testified for about half an hour before a grand jury investigating the agency. Adams also said he turned over documents to jurors, but declined to comment on the nature of the information.
Adams said before testifying that a leaked 2009 memo that questioned the competence of reserve deputy Robert Bates was “very accurate,” and said Sheriff Stanley Glanz could have done more to address its findings.
Thousands of residents petitioned for an investigation into the agency after Bates fatally shot Eric Harris in a Tulsa street in April during a sting involving gun sales. The petition calling for the probe gained momentum among citizens and local civil rights leaders with the release of the memo by an attorney for the Harris family.
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Bates, who has since left the agency, has pleaded not guilty to second-degree manslaughter and says he confused his handgun and stun gun in the shooting.
Bates is a close friend of Glanz and had previously donated thousands of dollars in cash and equipment to the agency, raising questions about the reserve deputy program and whether Bates and others received special treatment in return for the gifts.
“Even though Glanz says he glanced at (the memo), there should have been action taken on it, and that’s just another thing why Sheriff Glanz, something needs to happen to him, because if he read that report and didn’t do anything with it, he’s willfully negligent,” Adams said before testifying.
Sheriff’s spokesman Terry Simonson said Wednesday that Glanz took administrative action against two employees as a result of the memo, but said since it was considered a “personnel action,” it was confidential.
Adams said he witnessed some of the alleged questionable behavior mentioned in the memo about Bates; while on patrol, Adams said he saw Bates behave “like he was a member of the command staff” even though he was a reserve.
“(Bates) would tell people to do things, and it’s like, ‘I don’t work for you,'” Adams said.
Clark Brewster, Bates’ attorney, said when asked about Adams’ comments that he didn’t know Adams and had never spoken to him.
The grand jury is meeting for its fifth week and heard testimony Tuesday from a corporal in the internal affairs division who says he was pressured to sign off on memos saying Bates was qualified for duty.
Warren Crittenden, a deputy from 1995 to 2011, told investigators in the 2009 memo that he feared he’d be transferred if he didn’t OK paperwork stating that Bates had completed his training at 328 hours, which violated policy requiring 480 hours of training, according to the report.
Another resignation at the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office took effect this week, the Tulsa World reported Wednesday, saying it marked the fourth person to leave since the fatal shooting. It said Deputy Bill McKelvey resigned effective Aug. 31, according to county personnel records.
McKelvey was demoted two months ago from the rank of captain to deputy after an internal review of his job performance. His attorney, Shena Burgess, told the newspaper his departure isn’t related to his demotion, the Harris shooting or the grand jury inquiry. He was at the grand jury inquiry last month.