Story by the Associated Press; curated by Dave Urbanski
TULSA, Okla. (AP) — Defense attorneys released some of the training records Saturday for a 73-year-old volunteer sheriff's deputy charged with manslaughter in the fatal shooting of an unarmed suspect in Oklahoma.
The records for Robert Bates include certificates showing what training he received, job evaluation reports and weapons training and qualification records dating to 2008.
Bates' attorneys said the 64 pages of records released to The Associated Press and other news organizations include records Bates copied and kept for himself. Although there are time gaps in the documents provided, some of the records seem to indicate Bates was proficient in firearms and dozens of other training courses.
"For the first time today, we feel like someone's starting to look at the other side of this as far as his qualifications," Scott Wood, an attorney for Bates, said after the documents were released.
Bates has said he mistakenly pulled out a handgun rather than a stun gun when he fatally shot Eric Harris on April 2 as he lay on the ground. He has been charged with second-degree manslaughter.
A day earlier, the Tulsa County volunteer deputy disputed a Tulsa World report that sheriff's office supervisors were ordered to falsify his training records.
The World said at least three of Bates' supervisors were transferred for refusing to go along with the requests, and said it consulted multiple sources who spoke on condition of anonymity, but it gave no indication how those sources were familiar with the situation.
Bates told NBC's "Today" show on Friday that he was certified for his position and had the documentation to prove it.
Harris' family attorney — who had questioned Bates' qualifications as a reserve deputy — did not return a message seeking comment Saturday. A call to the district attorney's office rang unanswered, and the sheriff's office referred questions to Wood.
"I want to do everything I can to make sure that people know that this allegation of falsified records is not true," Wood said.
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