It was a mistake.
That’s the blasé explanation Oklahoma officials gave after the fatal shooting of an unarmed black man by a white deputy who accidentally pulled his gun when he meant to use his Taser.
The botched encounter was captured on a disturbing video released by police on Friday — nine days after the fatal Tulsa shooting.
“He shot me! He shot me, man. Oh, my god. I’m losing my breath,” Eric Harris says as he struggles on the ground following the April 2 shooting, which flew under the radar until video emerged a week later.
“Fuck your breath,” a callous officer can be heard saying. “Shut the fuck up!”
Reserve Deputy Robert Bates, 73, shouted “Taser! Taser!” before pulling the trigger on his gun, firing a round into Harris.
“I shot him!” the former policeman says, dropping his gun. “I’m sorry.”
Bates was assisting other deputies who were trying to take Harris into custody after the felon fled from police during a sting operation, the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office’s said.
“You shouldn't have fucking ran!” another deputy screams, as Harris is held down by his neck and head.
Harris, who was in his 40s, was pronounced dead about an hour after the shooting, authorities said.
He had bolted from officers who were trying to arrest him for selling a 9 mm.
semiautomatic pistol and ammunition to undercover cops.
Harris, who was unarmed, had reportedly done time for assault and battery on an officer.
He was “absolutely a threat when going down,” Tulsa Police Sgt. Jim Clark said at a news conference.
Sheriff’s Capt. Billy McKelvey claims the arresting officers were not aware Harris had been shot, despite the gunshot noise and Bates’ admission. They called paramedics and firefighters, and rendered aid when they realized, McKelvey said.
“He made an inadvertent mistake,” McKelvey said.
Sgt. Dave Walker told the Tulsa World that police “would not investigate the death unless the sheriff’s office asked them to, and they have not asked us to.”