The judge assigned to the second degree manslaughter trial against Robert Bates recused himself Friday morning.
On the fifth floor of the Tulsa County Courthouse Judge James Caputo, prosecutors and Bates' attorneys met behind closed doors.
In the chambers the prosecutors asked Judge Caputo to recuse himself in light of potential conflict of interests.
"While he said and maintains he can be impartial in this case, I have no reason to doubt Judge Caputo's ability to be impartial but that is not the question. The question then becomes whether there is that perception or appearance that might suggest partiality," said Tulsa District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler.
In April Judge Caputo was assigned to handle the second degree manslaughter case of Bates who is accused of shooting and killing Eric Harris.
Harris family attorney Daniel Smolen said on Thursday he sent a letter to the Tulsa County District Attorney's Office encouraging them to take action. Smolen explained the reasons why he believes another judge should take over the case.
"There are issues with respect of his daughter being an employee of the sheriff's office would lead to an idea or possible view that he is being impartial. Then you have on top of that situations where he has represented witnesses in the case before on multiple occasions. The fact that he was a reserve deputy in the same time frame that Robert Bates was a reserve deputy," Smolen said.
Members of the activist group "We the People" said they are relieved to hear Judge Caputo choose to step down from this high profile case.
"We are grateful for Judge Caputo doing the right thing at this time. The system needs faith and it's hard to tell people to believe on the system when we see these things happening," said Marq Lewis.
Tulsa County District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler said it's likely the court will assign a new judge in about a week.