One by one, the grand jurors strolled into their secretive meeting area on the Tulsa County Courthouse’s sixth floor.
In that way, Wednesday morning was just like any of the other days the jurors had met, listening to various testimony and poring over documents.
But at least one thing was immediately different: Several of the jurors who had spent much of the past nine-plus weeks in street clothes were dressed much nicer than usual, a signal that Wednesday might be a bit more significant.
Indeed it was. The grand jury announced Wednesday afternoon that Tulsa County Sheriff Stanley Glanz was charged with two misdemeanors, and requested that he be removed from office.
Glanz, who was out of state, said through his attorney, Scott Wood, that he would resign prior to a Nov. 10 hearing over his misdemeanor charges. Meanwhile, Undersheriff Rick Weigel will take control of day-to-day operations, Wood said.
Glanz was charged with directing his employees to not release documents pertaining to training for 74-year-old reserve deputy Robert Bates, who shot and killed Eric Harris, 44, during a botched gun sting April 2.
Glanz was also charged with taking a $600 county stipend since Jan. 2014, while using a county vehicle.
The grand jury recommended Glanz be suspended immediately from office pending the Nov. 10 hearing over the two misdemeanors. Glanz will still be eligible for retirement benefits, according to the Tulsa County Treasurer’s office. Only a felony conviction could remove those benefits.
Glanz, in a letter released by his attorney said Harris’ shooting death “was a tragedy for (Harris’) family, the community and the sheriff’s office … I truly regret that any of my actions have led to the impaneling of this grand jury, and the disruptions in the lives of the jurors and witnesses.”
As for the two charges levied against Glanz, Wood called one “murky” and said the other was not a crime.
“On the request for the 2009 report, I would have given him the same legal advice, that that’s not a producible record under the Open Records Act,” Wood said. “Now the vehicle stipend is a little bit more of a question mark … If you drive your personal vehicle in an official capacity as sheriff to a crime scene … there’s all kinds of issues, would your insurance company cover you if something happened when you were driving that vehicle? I bet they wouldn’t.
“You’re telling me no elected official ever gets into a county or state vehicle and uses it instead of their personal vehicle?”
“Is he disappointed that he got charged with two misdemeanors after a long and illustrious career in law enforcement, of course he’s disappointed,” Wood said. “But he respects the process.
“We’re going to handle this going forward just like we would any other criminal case. I anticipate that when we show up on Nov. 10 that we will enter ‘not guilty’ pleas on both charges.”
As the indictments against Glanz were being read, Marq Lewis, founder of We The People Oklahoma, and Andre Harris, Eric Harris’ brother, shared a quick embrace.
Lewis’ group launched the grand jury process, collecting thousands of signatures and surviving an intense and costly legal battle against the sheriff’s office, who argued that the petition drive was illegal.
Andre Harris has spent the last months preaching peace, and patience, all while saying he hoped any wrongdoing at the sheriff’s office would be exposed.
“I’m glad that we got justice today, this is a win for the citizens,” Lewis said, surrounded by some of the volunteers who helped him collect signatures for the grand jury. “As you can tell, we had a shoestring budget, we had nothing. They had thousands of dollars … to fight this. Here we are standing victorious. This is a testament to never fight against the citizens of Tulsa County.”
Records show the sheriff’s office spent at least $23,000 to fight the grand jury investigation. With still two weeks of invoices left to go, that number could swell when it reaches its final total.
Andre Harris said he never wavered from his belief that the sheriff would be removed from office.
“I felt my brother with me ever since he was shot,” Harris said in an interview with The Frontier at his attorney’s office. “It was never a case of will this be exposed, it was when will it be exposed.”
District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler said after the hearing that he had called state Attorney General Scott Pruitt and requested that Pruitt handle the criminal case against Glanz.
The 12-person grand jury also released a list of eight recommendations for the sheriff’s office, including:
- The grand jury recommends that TCSO policies are adhered to closely and uniformly.
- Although CLEET has a grandfather policy, the grand jury suggests that the TCSO adopts an internal policy that even if a person has been certified by CLEET if they have been absent from law enforcement for more than five years they must complete the full application process, testing, and training requirements of a full-time deputy.
- The grand jury finds it necessary that the TCSO establish and adhere to policies specifically regarding training and experience requirements for assignment by department. In specific, specialized units such as SOT, task forces, etc.
- It has been determined that the method of training and personnel documentation compliance needs to be improved. The grand jury suggests a person or committee specifically tasked with making sure the training and personnel records are complete, uniform and up to date. These records should be subject to a regular audit.
- Better accountability of field training hours.
- The grand jury recommends that at any time a transfer or reassignment occurs, a copy of the deputy’s training records shall accompany that reassignment and be signed off on as complete and sufficient for the new assignment by the new chain of command.
- The grand jury requests that TCSO make the internal affairs department more autonomous from the TCSO itself. In addition, it is recommended that each and every investigation be assigned an internal affairs number.
- The grand jury suggests that TCSO create some type of fully anonymous avenue for employees to report an issue. It is also suggest that these reports are documented and maintained.
Also on Wednesday, deputy Michael Huckeby submitted his resignation, according to the sheriff’s office. He became the fifth person to resign or be demoted in the wake of the April 2 shooting of Eric Harris.
Huckeby was assigned to TCSO’s Violent Crimes Task Force when Harris was shot. He was recorded on video with his knee on Harris’ neck, pinning the wounded man to the ground before and after Bates fired the fatal shot.
It was later revealed that Huckeby’s presence on the task force — of which his father, ex-Maj. Tom Huckeby ran — broke TCSO policy, which does not allow one family member to supervise another.
Tom Huckeby resigned in May following allegations that he had pressured subordinates to pass Bates through the reserve program, as well as allegations of on-duty sexual misconduct.
Who met with the grand jury?
- Sheriff Stanley Glanz
- Former undersheriff Tim Albin: Forced to resign following the release of the 2009 Internal Affairs document alleging Robert Bates received preferential treatment.
- Former Maj. Tom Huckeby: Forced to resign following the release of the 2009 Internal Affairs document alleging Robert Bates received preferential treatment.
- Capt. Rob Lillard: Conducted the 2009 Internal Affairs investigation into Bates.
- Deputy Tim Wilkens
- Former Maj. Shannon Clark: Was fired for an undisclosed reason following the Bates fallout.
- Former Capt. Billy McKelvey: Was demoted and later resigned following the Bates fallout.
- Undersheriff Rick Weigel: Became undersheriff after Albin was forced out.
- Former deputy Warren Crittenden: Was a key figure in the 2009 Internal Affairs document. Was fired from the sheriff’s office in 2011, and later had a murder charge against him dropped.
- Former Undersheriff Brian Edwards: Commissioned the 2009 Internal Affairs document.
- Deputy Joseph Byars: Recorded in the Eric Harris video saying “Fuck your breath” to a dying Harris.
- Capt. Eric Kitch: Was a key figure in the 2009 Internal Affairs document.
- Sgt. Randy Chapman: Was a key figure in the 2009 Internal Affairs document.
- Deputy Michael Huckeby: Was filmed in the Harris shooting.
- Former deputy Bill Adams
- Deputy Evan Foster
- Cpl. Kyle Hess
- Deputy Chief John Bowman
- Deputy Chief Michelle Robinette
- Sgt. Chris Pierce
- Meredith Baker: General Counsel for the sheriff’s office.
- Deputy Jerry Quinton
- Deputy Eric Anderson
- Sgt. Dave Roberts