White Oklahoma officer charged over black man's death

media captionA clip from the video released by Tulsa police

A white police officer who fatally shot a black man after apparently mistakenly grabbing his gun instead of his Taser has been charged with manslaughter.

Robert Bates, a 73-year-old volunteer sheriff's deputy, shot Eric Harris after an undercover weapons sting.

A video filmed on 2 April in Tulsa shows Mr Harris, 44, chased and brought to ground before he is shot.

It follows a series of shootings of black men by white US police officers, which have sparked national protests.

Tulsa County District Attorney Stephen Kunzweiler said the manslaughter charges involved culpable negligence.

It carries a prison sentence of up to four years.

Prosecutors said Mr Bates had served as a reserve deputy, a volunteer position, since 2008.

Some are questioning how Mr Bates, chief executive of an insurance firm and a major donor to the Sheriff's Office, came to be involved in such a high-risk operation.

The Harris family lawyer said he had paid big money to "play a cop".

image copyrightReuters
image captionRobert Bates was a volunteer

The video of the shooting was released at the request of Mr Harris's family after an investigation.

Mr Harris was accused of trying to sell an illegal gun to an undercover officer in a sting operation.

In the video, a gunshot is heard and a man says, "Oh, I shot him. I'm sorry."

Mr Harris is heard calling out "He shot me, oh my God!"

A deputy replies: "You [expletive] ran. Shut the [expletive] up.''

Mr Harris then complains that he is losing breath as he is pinned down. A deputy dismisses his complaint with another expletive.

Mr Harris was treated at the scene but died later in hospital.

image copyrightReuters
image captionEric Harris's family described him as "sweet, nice, forgiving"

A police investigator said Mr Bates thought he drew a Taser - a stun gun - instead of his handgun.

For the second time in a week, a videotaped fatal shooting of a black man has provoked an outcry.

Last week Walter Scott, an unarmed 50-year-old, was shot in the back and killed in South Carolina.

The protests that followed that incident continued months of demonstrations about police use of force, ever since a black unarmed teenager was shot dead in Ferguson, Missouri, last summer.

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