Robert Bates Cancels Speech

Aug 12, 2018

File photo of Robert Bates
Credit Tulsa County Sheriff's Office

A white former Oklahoma volunteer deputy who was convicted of fatally shooting an unarmed black man has canceled a planned speaking engagement to a criminal justice reform group amid complaints about his appearance.

The Tulsa World reports that Robert Bates canceled plans to speak Saturday in Tulsa to Oklahoma Citizens United for the Rehabilitation of Errants, or OK CURE.

Bates said in a statement that he wanted to talk about prison problems and the lack of reforms in prisons that no one other than a former inmate could discuss.

Bates was convicted of manslaughter in the 2015 death of Eric Harris during an illegal gun sales sting. Bates, who said he confused his handgun for a stun gun, served about 1½ years of a four-year prison sentence.