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Robert Bates Pleads Not Guilty…Goes On Vacation

Volunteer Oklahoma deputy pleads not guilty, heads to Bahamas

A volunteer Oklahoma deputy charged in the shooting death of an unarmed Black man pleaded not guilty Tuesday to second-degree manslaughter and won approval for a controversial family vacation.

A Tulsa judge ordered Reserve Deputy Robert Bates, 73, to return to court July 2 — but approved his request to first vacation in the Bahamas. The vacation drew an angry response from the family of Eric Harris, who was fatally shot by Bates on April 2.

"Whether intended or not, Mr. Bates' vacationing in the Bahamas at this time sends a message of apathy with respect to the shooting and Eric's life," the Harris family said in a statement released by lawyer Dan Smolen. "At a time when we are still mourning the death of a loved one that he shot down in the street, Mr. Bates will be relaxing and enjoying his wealth and privilege."

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