NEW: Eric Harris' family welcomes the decision, but says, "We will not rest until the whole truth is known"
Tulsa County, Oklahoma, Sheriff Stanley Glanz resigned after a grand jury requested he be removed from office
Glanz is accused of asking staffers to "hold on to" an investigation tied to Reserve Deputy Robert Bates
Tulsa County, Oklahoma, Sheriff Stanley Glanz resigned on Wednesday after a grand jury indicted him on a pair of misdemeanor charges, one of them accusing him of withholding details related to a volunteer deputy who fatally shot Eric Harris.
The indictment claims that after Harris was shot to death on April 2 – by Bates, a then 73-year-old reserve deputy who said he mistakenly shot Harris after mistakenly grabbing his firearm instead of a stun gun – Glanz “denied lawful requests for the release of internal investigations into his office’s Reserve Deputy program.”
Glanz knew of a 2009 report of that description but told employees to “hold on to it” in violation of the law, according to the indictment.
The other charge didn’t appear to be related to Bates or Harris. Rather, it’s a count of “willful violation of the law” for allegedly taking a $600 monthly travel stipend to pay for the use of his personal vehicle for official business. Instead, he allegedly took the money and used a county-owned and county-fueled vehicle for official travel.
A document filed Wednesday stated that the grand jury “respectfully requests that Sheriff Stanley Glanz be removed from the office of the sheriff of Tulsa County based upon the facts and legal authority.”
Glanz acknowledged this recommendation in a statement Wednesday, saying that he told the grand jury “when I testified I would respect their decision.” The 50-year law enforcement veteran – the last 27 as sheriff – said he’d already decided not to run for re-election prior to the Harris shooting, but will now step down “in the immediate future.”
“I know my decisions have caused some to criticize me both publicly and privately,” he said. “As sheriff, I take responsibility for all decisions made by me or in my name. But I assure you, they were all made in good faith.”
Harris’ family is glad that the sheriff has been indicted and is heading out the door – saying both developments “show that regular citizens can accomplish extraordinary results.” But that doesn’t mean they are done fighting.
“We will not rest until the whole truth is known about what happened to Eric,” the family said in a statement. “We will not rest until justice is served.”
Did volunteer deputy get preferential treatment?
Back in April, Robert Bates’ day job was as the CEO of an insurance company. But he was also a volunteer for the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office, allowing him to work on assignments – sometimes armed – along with full-time law enforcement officers.
An internal inquiry by the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office in 2009 concluded that Bates was shown special treatment and that training policies were violated regarding his role with the agency.
A Harris family lawyer provided documents to CNN from the 2009 inquiry, which also found that supervisors intimidated employees to disregard policies to the benefit of Bates.
This was the investigation that, according to the grand jury indictment, Glanz allegedly told employees to “hold on to” rather than disseminate.
Harris’ family claims Bates wasn’t qualified, but received preferential treatment because he’d made donations to the agency and was a friend of the sheriff.
The Tulsa World newspaper reported some supervisors in the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office were told to forge Bates’ records and were reassigned when they refused. The sheriff’s office denied the allegations in the newspaper’s report. It also declined a CNN interview to respond to the claims.
Glanz did not mention specifics Wednesday, but did say he “always tried to be transparent, do the right thing and keep an open door policy.”
Earlier this year, Bates lawyer Clark Brewster disputed the findings, claimed his client had proper training and characterized the 2009 document as something borne out of jealousy by other officers.
And Bates himself, in an interview on NBC’s “Today” show, rejected allegations that he essentially paid to be a cop as “unbelievably unfair.”
He has not denied that he fatally shot Harris, an incident that led to a second-degree manslaughter charge. (Bates has pleaded not guilty.) But he claims he mistook his gun for his Taser after calling out “Taser! Taser!” in a tussle captured on a police body camera.
“Believe me,” he told the “Today” show, “it can happen to anyone.”
CNN’s Jason Morris, Kevin Conlon and Mariano Castillo contributed to this report.