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Family gathers year after death of Eric Harris

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Posted at 9:20 PM, Apr 02, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-02 22:20:51-04

On Saturday afternoon, friends and family of Eric Harris came together at Oklahoma Style Bar-B-Q in North Tulsa.

It was a day of celebration for those closest to Harris, as they recalled all the changes that have taken place since the 44-year-old's death one year ago.

His brother Andre Harris vows to keep fighting for his brother's justice.

"You know we are all here for a reason," Harris said. "Some of us know it at an early age, sometimes it takes things like this before you really know what you're called for.

Two blocks to the south of Oklahoma Style Bar-B-Q sits a memorial outside a Dollar General store. It is next to the spot where Eric Harris died on April 2, 2015. 

According to his prison record he was convicted in 2013 for assault and battery on an officer after two previous felony convictions. Undercover deputies had previously purchased methamphetamine from Eric Harris, and outside the Dollar General during a sting operation deputies were purchasing a handgun from him.

During a chase Tulsa County reserve deputy Robert Bates said he mistook his gun for a Taser, shot and killed Harris.

Bates is set to stand trial on April 18 for a second degree manslaughter charge from the shooting. 

The memorial for Harris now shows its age, after sitting through the stress of a year worth of weather. 

The stress of the last year, also taking its toll on the Harris family. 

"It is just so much emotion," Sheila Dake-Harris, Andre's wife said. "It really consumes your life. I think if it hasn't happened to you, I don't think people really understand the impact it has when you're not getting justice and you just keep getting lies after lies."

But now Eric's brother Andre said with family around him, he simply wants transparency from Tulsa's leaders moving forward.

After Bates shot and killed Harris, drastic changes took place inside the Tulsa County Sheriff's Office.

Investigations into Bates' role in the reserve deputy program and sheriff's office, as well as investigations into the sheriff's office itself began. 

Several top members of TCSO's administration left the sheriff's office. 

A grand jury's recommendations led to Sheriff Stanley Glanz leaving office. TCSO is also working to follow several other recommendations from the jury and also is acting on suggestions in an in-depth external audit it received earlier this year. 

"That is what we are doing now," Andre Harris. "That is what this represents. We are getting answers." 

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