A body camera video has just been released which shines a new light on the Tennessee police shooting of an unarmed motorist.
Last April, police in Tennessee attempted to pull over Michael Dial for driving on a suspended license. Police officers shot Dial in the head, killing him, after a low speed pursuit.
The original ruling on the killing of Michael Dial was thought to be justified, despite him being unarmed. A new body camera video raises questions about whether the ruling was in fact correct.
Tennessee Police Shooting of Michael Dial Body Camera Video
Dial was unarmed at the time and was driving a 1976 pickup truck when police attempted to pull him over. Instead of stopping, he drove on. Police ended up ramming his car off the road and immediately opening fire. One shot hit him in the head, killing him.
Though he failed to stop, Dial did not break the speed limit during the pursuit, raising further questions about whether the police were justified in their choice to use lethal force.
Dial’s widow Robyn Dial indicted that her husband probably did not stop as he feared police.
“Why didn’t he stop?” Robyn Dial asked. “He was scared. I know him enough to know that.”
Federal Lawsuit Over Tennessee Police Shooting
Dial is suing White County, Tennessee, Sheriff Shoupe, Deputy West, and Sparta Officer Simms for use of excessive force. Dial’s attorney, David Weissman claims there was no reason to shoot Mr. Dial and that the Sheriff was more worried about patrol cars than Mr. Dials life.
The new body camera video which officers did not know was on at the time, Weismann claims, proves Ms. Dial’s case.
Sheriff Shoupe’s Disturbing Comments After Shooting
In the video Sheriff Shoupe can be heard saying: “They said ‘we’re ramming him.’ I said, ‘Don’t ram him shoot him.’ Fu** that sh**. Ain’t gonna tear up my cars.”
“If they don’t think I’ll give the da** order to kill that motherfu** they’re full of sh**. (Laughter) Take him out. I’m here on the da** wrong end of the county,” Shoupe said on the body camera.
Sheriff Shoupe seemd upset he was not there when the shooting happened.
“I love this sh**. God I tell you what, I thrive on it.”
In reference to the body camera video, Weissman said to a local news network, “If that’s the mentality of the highest policy maker in the county, that’s scary.”
“I don’t know how you can thrive on taking a human life. That’s not law enforcement,” Weissman said.
According to local News Channel 5, the incident took place as follows:
“Dekalb deputies backed off at the county line, and White County took over. Their deputies tried to stop Dial using their patrol cars. Reserve Deputy Adam West got involved — driving his personal pick-up. Sheriff Oddie Shoupe was not involved in the chase, but he gave orders to the radio dispatcher authorizing deputies to shoot Dial.”
Dial’s lawsuit exposes the conversation which the sheriff had with his cops after the incident. One of the cops appears to be in distress at the fact that he contributed to the killing of the man.
Sheriff Shoupe: “I told em, I said take him out.”
Deputy: “I heard.”
Sheriff Shoupe: “Damn, I don’t give a shit.”
Deputy: “It wasn’t long after that I heard ‘shots fired.’”
District Attorney Rules Tennessee Police Shooting Of Michael Dial Justified
The local District Attorney still stood by his ruling that the shooting was justified. Sheriff Shoupe declined to comment.
District Attorney Dunaway put out a news release after the shooting — but before he had seen the sheriff’s comments on the body camera that stated in part:
“Dial’s truck drove down an embankment on the right side of Highway 111 and then began to drive back up to the grass hill toward the highway and toward the Sparta Police Officer’s vehicle.”
It concludes, “It is clear from the circumstances that Mr. Dial was a dangerous and unstable subject” who posed a risk to law enforcement and to other citizens.
Ms. Dial’s federal lawsuit will challenge the District Attorney’s ruling of justified force.