The prosecutor assigned to review a lengthy investigation into alleged misconduct at the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office during the Stanley Glanz administration told The Frontier on Wednesday a decision on possible charges should come “in the next couple of weeks.”
Rob Barris, district attorney over Okmulgee and McIntosh counties, said he had set an internal timeline to have his review of the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation report complete by the end of the year. The OSBI announced in October that it had completed its investigation into Glanz and potentially others at TCSO and had submitted it to Barris for possible charges.
“I’ll probably have a release ready to go out to the media on it in a couple of weeks,” Barris said.
That timeline would push the announcement to the the days right before Christmas, a timeframe that would mark about 17 months since the investigation was opened.
And a lot has happened since then.
At the time, the investigation was requested by Tulsa County District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler, whose recusal from the case led to Barris being placed in charge of the criminal proceedings. (The DA’s office works closely with TCSO and provides legal advice in some cases.)
Kunzweiler’s request was spurred by the fatal shooting of Eric Harris by Reserve Deputy Robert Bates in April 2015, an event that was captured on TCSO surveillance equipment as deputies chased a fleeing, unarmed Harris.
Harris was eventually tackled, then shot by a late-arriving Bates. The 73-year-old reserve deputy immediately dropped his firearm, exclaiming: “I shot him, I’m sorry.”
Bates was charged, and ultimately convicted, of second-degree manslaughter and is currently serving a four-year prison sentence at the Joseph Harp Correctional Facility in Lexington. In the aftermath of Bates’ arrest, multiple top sheriff’s office officials were forced by Glanz to resign.
The Community Safety Institute, which had been tasked with reviewing TCSO, issued an exhaustive 238-page report in February. The report said that there “has been … a perceptible decline for over a decade, during which time there developed a systematic and institutionalized practice of disregarding organizational policies and procedures.”
The report was completed at a cost of $130,000 to taxpayers. It was originally slated to cost $75,000, but its scope was expanded late last year at an additional cost of $30,000. The report noted that the $130,000 figure included $25,000 worth of training given to the sheriff’s office by CSI personnel.
Even Glanz himself wasn’t spared from the fallout. A grand jury was impaneled last year after a lengthy signature-collection effort by local activist group We The People Oklahoma, and its investigation led to Glanz being charged with two misdemeanor crimes — one for failure to disclose public records as well as for taking a county-funded vehicle stipend while also driving a county vehicle.
When the charges against Glanz were released, the longtime sheriff (who did not attend the hearing and was in Colorado at the time) announced through his attorney that he was resigning. Glanz later pleaded guilty to misusing the county vehicle and no contest to the records disclosure charge, and is currently serving a one-year suspended sentence.
Rick Weigel, who had replaced Tim Albin as undersheriff after Albin left the office in disgrace, became acting sheriff. Weigel, however, quickly retired, which led to chief deputy Michelle Robinette becoming acting sheriff.
Meanwhile, contenders for Glanz’s job began to emerge.
Gov. Mary Fallin announced that the remainder of the tarnished sheriff’s term (about nine months) would be filled by a special election, and 13 men filed to run. Former TPD Sgt. Vic Regalado won the special election, and was elected again in November to fill a full sheriff term which begins in 2017.
Since Glanz’s ouster as sheriff, he’s remained mostly quiet. He told The Frontier last March that he was “doing great,” but that he felt that “the whole world was upside down” as he watched other candidates run for an office he’d held for nearly three decades.
Glanz has not responded to other media requests since then, though his wife Deborah told Bates’ wife Charlotte on Facebook recently that Glanz had met with Pete Regan (Oklahoma Transportation commissioner for District 8) to see if he could convince Fallin to free Bates.
“Since the campaign is over Stanley thinks we can get something done,” Deborah Glanz wrote.
Regan told The Frontier that Glanz “mentioned his desire to secure a pardon, and I told him that would be a non-starter.”