A former Tulsa County deputy who was fired, caught in a homicide scandal and later had a murder charge against him dropped testified Tuesday in front of a grand jury investigating the sheriff’s office and Sheriff Stanley Glanz.
Warren Crittenden, 44, declined to say what he told the grand jury Tuesday morning, only that “it felt good to tell the truth.”
Crittenden testified for a little more than an hour.
“It feels good to be able to tell the truth, that’s all I’ve ever done is tell the truth,” he said. “I hope that everyone that comes in tells the truth, because when the truth is out, a lot of people’s eyes are going to be opened to the sheriff’s office.”
Crittenden was interviewed in 2009 for an Internal Affairs review seeking to determine if Robert Bates, an insurance executive and friend of Glanz, had received preferential treatment as he rose through the reserve deputy ranks.
Bates, 74, shot and killed Eric Harris on April 2 during a botched gun sting. Bates, who volunteered with TCSO’s Violent Crimes Task Force, said he believed he was using a Taser when he instead shot Harris once under the right arm, killing him.
Crittenden, a corporal at the time the 2009 report was issued, was quoted in the report as saying he had felt pressured to do things for Bates he would not normally have done for other reserves. He said Tim Albin, a chief deputy at the time, and Maj. Tom Huckeby both routinely checked with him to ensure Bates would graduate the program on time, something Crittenden said Albin and Huckeby had never done before.
Crittenden also said in the report that Huckeby gave him two documents to sign, both of which said that Bates was “capable” of performing in the field. Crittenden said he signed the documents, but did not write or agree that Bates was capable of field work.
Both Albin and Huckeby were forced to resign not long after the document was leaked.
After news of Bates’ training issues surfaced, Tulsa attorney Clark Brewster appeared on CNN and publicly criticized Crittenden’s credibility. Brewster said an affidavit that Crittenden wrote about Bates’ falsified training records was unreliable, citing his pending murder charge.
However in an appearance on the Today show, Bates cited a 2009 memo written by Crittenden as evidence that Bates was properly trained.
Brewster is representing Bates, who is charged with second-degree manslaughter in Harris’ shooting. He has also represented Bates in a civil lawsuit over his former insurance company.
In a secretly recorded conversation with a colleague in 2012, Bates discussed the legal battle over the sale of his insurance company. During the conversation, Bates bragged about his relationship with the sheriff’s office and said he did not have to pay for Brewster’s legal services.
“I haven’t paid him yet, let’s say. I mean, he knows I’ve done some shit for him at the sheriff’s office, of course, for some of his clients.”
Crittenden was charged in February after 33-year-old Michael Jones was shot and killed inside an east Tulsa motel room. Crittenden, who had previously been fired by the sheriff’s office and has a wrongful termination lawsuit filed against them, was arrested and charged with first-degree murder.
That charge was dropped in August, and Crittenden posted bond and was released from jail, though he is still considered a material witness against the other suspects in Jones’ slaying.