Tulsa’s sheriff, Stanley Glanz, is currently in the midst of a slough of legal troubles regarding the murder of Eric Harris.
In April of 2015, Eric Harris was shot and killed by volunteer reserve deputy Robert Bates.
Harris had already been subdued, and Bates has since claimed that he intended to tase Harris, but grabbed his gun, and fired it, by accident.
It is questionable whether tasing Harris would have been an acceptable use of force—but it is pretty clear that shooting him was not.
There are several important things to be aware of regarding this situation: Bates is white and Harris was black. Bates was 73 years old at the time of the shooting, Bates was not an official employee of the sheriff’s department but was carrying a gun with the sheriff’s department’s knowledge and approval—and Bates is good friends with Sheriff Glanz.
Sheriff Glanz is currently Tulsa County’s sheriff. He has been with the Tulsa Police Department since 1966, and has been Tulsa’s sheriff—an elected position—since 1989.
Since Eric Harris’ death, Glanz’s office has come under scrutiny for its role in Harris’ death by not only allowing Robert Bates to “pay-to-play” as a deputy but also allowing him to carry a firearm.
Bates is a major donor to the Tulsa Police Department, leaving many concerned that he received special treatment because of his donations.
In the ensuing investigation of Glanz’s office, he has been consistently unhelpful, attempting to halt legal action at every possible opportunity. A petition for a grand jury investigation of Glanz’s office managed to get over 6,000 signatures, and Glanz has consistently fought the investigation at the State’s Supreme Court.
Most recently, Glanz’s office has come under fire after Glanz sent a condolence letter to the Sapulpa police department.
Sapulpa’s police chief, Rick Rumsey, reported that Glanz’s letter concerning the loss of a police officer’s life included not only a misspelling of the man’s name, but also the wrong name entirely.
Captain Trey Pritchard was found dead on Aug. 15 in Midwest City. Jonathan Grafton and Daphne Mason have been arrested for his murder. In Sheriff Glanz’s condolence letter, he referred to Trey Pritchard as Jonathan Grafton—which he also misspelled.
So not only did he misname Pritchard with the name of his accused murderer, he also did not even spell that name correctly.
During Captain Pritchard’s funeral, several members of Sapulpa police department were forced to leave to investigate another murder—because Glanz’s office refused to send his officers to investigate in their stead. Both TPD and SPD have jurisdiction over the area, but Glanz would not send anyone to investigate.
If this were an isolated incident, it would certainly be forgivable as a lapse in judgment and a typo. However, given the precarious situation in which Glanz’s office finds itself right now, this incident highlights a blatant disregard for community.
At this point, Glanz’s office ought to be doing everything possible to improve his standing in the community, and a mistake like this just reinforces the idea that his office is incompetent to a fault.