TULSA, Okla. – The Tulsa County Sheriff's Office on Monday announced the resignation of a top official who reportedly quashed criticisms of a volunteer deputy who would later fatally shoot a restrained man.
Sheriff Stanley Glanz didn't specify why Undersheriff Tim Albin stepped down, but said departmental reorganization was necessary following the April 2 shooting by reserve deputy Robert Bates, who says he mistook his handgun for a stun gun.
"Given the gravity of the current situation and the need to go a different direction with our leadership and management he agrees with me that it is time for a change," Glanz wrote in a news release.
The Associated Press left a message seeking comment from Albin, a 26-year veteran of the office. Department spokesman Shannon Clark said Albin's last day is Friday.
Albin was named in a 2009 internal investigation released Friday that showed deputies had expressed concerns about Bates' performance. Some claimed Albin gave Bates preferential treatment and intimidated those who raised concerns. The former head of the reserve deputy program, Sergeant Randy Chapman, told the investigator that Albin chastised him after he questioned Bates' performance.
"You need to stop messing with (Bates) because he does a lot of good for the County," Chapman is quoted in the memo saying Albin told him that. Chapman declined to talk about the memo when contacted last week by The Associated Press and also declined Monday after Albin's resignation.
"I've been told to stay out of it," he said.
On one occasion when Chapman complained to Albin that Bates was driving a personal car with police equipment prior to having the requisite training, Albin told him: "This is a s--- sandwich and you will just have to eat it but not acquire a taste for it."
A little more than five years later, 44-year-old Eric Harris was shot while on the ground in custody after running from deputies following a sting operation. The 73-year-old Bates has pleaded not guilty to a charge of second-degree manslaughter. Bates is white and Harris was black, but the victim's brother has said he doesn't believe the shooting was racially motivated.
Attorneys for Harris' family have repeatedly called on Glanz and Albin to resign.
Associated Press writer Allen Reed in Little Rock, Arkansas, contributed to this report.