Tulsa County sheriff's office spokesman placed on leave

Major Clark On Admin Leave
Major Clark On Admin Leave

TULSA, Okla. (AP) -- The Tulsa County sheriff placed the agency's spokesman on administrative leave Monday following last month's fatal shooting of a restrained man by a volunteer deputy.

Sheriff Stanley Glanz announced in a statement that Maj. Shannon Clark is on administrative leave, with pay, pending a performance evaluation. The move follows the April 2 shooting of Eric Harris by reserve deputy Robert Bates.

Glanz didn't say why Clark was put on leave and didn't respond to a request for comment by The Associated Press. Glanz said in the statement that Terry Simonson, the intergovernmental affairs and contract administrator for the agency, would be handling public information. Calls to Simonson seeking comment were not returned.

Clark didn't return a phone call seeking comment but said in a text message that he didn't know why he was put on leave. "I'm in the dark on this one," he wrote.

In April, Clark denied the existence of a 2009 memo in which employees detailed concerns about Bates' training. The memo was later released by an attorney representing the Harris' family.

Bates, 73, is a friend of Glanz who has donated tens of thousands of dollars in cash and equipment to the sheriff's office. Bates is charged with second-degree manslaughter in Harris' shooting death.

Glanz, who first took office in 1989, has declined repeated interview requests from the AP, including after Monday's county commissioners meeting, where he reiterated to reporters that he would not step down. He also has said he won't seek re-election next year.

Last month, Tim Albin, the second-ranking official in the sheriff's office, resigned after a leaked internal investigation showed he pressured subordinates to ignore Bates' training deficiencies.

After the release of the internal memos from 2009, Glanz ordered that reserve deputies could no longer patrol alone and that his office would temporarily limit its 126 reserve deputies while it audits their training records.

A local civil rights group is petitioning for a grand jury to investigate whether Glanz neglected his duties and whether reservists who gave gifts to Glanz were given special treatment. The group We the People Oklahoma has 45 days to collect 5,000 signatures from county voters to authorize an order impaneling the jury.

Group organizer Marq Lewis estimated Monday that volunteers have collected about 1,000 signatures so far.