Glanz, Stanley wide

Tulsa County Sheriff Stanley Glanz. DYLAN GOFORTH/The Frontier

As testimony in front of a grand jury impaneled to investigate the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office continued on Thursday, one person set to testify found time for a little nap.

Such is life in the lonely world of the grand jury. The 15 jurors meet in a secluded room out of view from the public, only emerging for occasional bathroom breaks, lunch, and to head home for the day.

Those brought in for testimony sit in a lobby, waiting their turn. So on Thursday, Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office Capt. Eric Kitch appeared to catch a few winks while waiting for his name to be called.

Kitch, Sgt. Randy Chapman, Capt. Rob Lillard and Deputy Mike Huckeby were in the courthouse for a second day Thursday.

The grand jury was impaneled last month following the April 2 shooting of Eric Harris by reserve deputy Robert Bates. Bates, a 74-year-old friend of the sheriff who volunteered with TCSO’s Violent Crimes Task Force, shot Harris during a botched gun sting.

Since the grand jury meets in secret, it’s impossible to tell who has testified and who has merely scheduled a time to re-appear.

On Wednesday, deputy Joseph Byars (who was seen in the Eric Harris video saying “Fuck your breath” to a dying Harris,) confirmed to a Tulsa World reporter that he had testified. On Thursday, Kitch and Huckeby were jovial, but gave no mention if they had testified before the grand jury.

Kitch would only say that he had “done as the subpoena asked.”

“I’m ready for this incident to be behind us so everyone involved can put it behind them and move forward,” he said.

Lillard declined comment. Chapman confirmed he had testified.

Lillard penned the 2009 Internal Affairs document that outlined the various ways some TCSO members felt Robert Bates was skirting the rules during his time as a reserve deputy.

Lillard said in the document he set out to answer two questions: Was Bates treated differently than other reserve deputies, and was outside pressure placed on Bates’ supervisors to pass him through the system.

Lillard concluded that “policy has been violated and continues to be violated by both Captain Tom Huckeby and Chief Deputy Tim Albin with regard to special treatment shown to Reserve Deputy Robert Bates with regard to his field training and with Captain Huckeby and Chief Albin creating an atmosphere in which employees were intimidated to fail to adhere to policies in a manner which benefits Reserve Deputy Bates.”

Kitch and Chapman were both mentioned numerous times in the IA report. Lillard reported that Kitch told him that while he never felt pressured by his superiors to help Bates, he did feel that Bates received treatment no other reserve deputy had received.

Kitch told Lillard, according to the report, that he had sent Bates a suspension letter because Bates had not completed his firearms training, and was told by Albin that this was “some type of harassment.”

Chapman was the reserve deputy coordinator in 2008, but said that Bates had become a reserve without his knowledge.

Chapman also said he noticed that Bates was driving a private vehicle with police equipment attached prior to achieving the “advanced reserve” rank necessary to do so. Chapman told Lillard he had brought these concerns to Albin, who told him, “This is a shit sandwich and you will just have to eat it but not acquire a taste for it”.

Huckeby left before noon without confirming that he had testified in front of the grand jury. Mike Huckeby could be seen in the Eric Harris video with his knee on Harris’ head after the shooting.

His father, former Maj. Tom Huckeby, is expected to testify before the grand jury, but has yet to appear at the courthouse. He, along with Albin, was “forced to resign” by the sheriff’s office in the fallout of the Bates scandal.

However, both he and Albin were allowed to retire. Sheriff’s Office spokesman Terry Simonson said at the time, “We don’t consider it ‘allowing them retire,’ when the decision has been made by the sheriff, following his own personally led investigation, that they can, and will, no longer be associated with the TCSO.”

“The Sheriff does not consider ‘forced retirement’ to be a benefit. It is, after all, the most severe disciplinary action that can be taken against an employee by an employer, that is, termination.”

Albin and Glanz are both expected to testify before the grand jury at some point, as is County Assessor Ken Yazel. It’s unclear whether Bates can be compelled to testify.