Sheriff Oddie Shoupe of White County Tennessee is facing a lawsuit for ordering his officers to shoot Michael Dial after a low-speed car chase as a result of a suspended license.
Law enforcement officers tried to pull over Dial in April when they suspected he was driving without a license. When they pulled him over, he tried to drive away, ramming several police cars in the process.
This led to a low-speed chase, only reaching speeds of 40-50mph. Shoupe, who didn’t know his voice was being captured on his officer’s body cameras, can be heard ordering his officers to use deadly force to avoid any more damage to the squad cars.
“They said ‘we’re ramming him.’ I said, ‘Don’t ram him shoot him.’ F— that s—. Ain’t gonna tear up my cars.” Over the radio he orders the officers giving chase to “take him out by any means necessary, including deadly force.”
After law enforcement successfully ran Dial off the road, two officers can be seen discharging their guns at the car. Reserve Deputy Adam West fired his gun 3 times and Officer Charlie Sims an additional 4 or 5 times. Michael Dial, 33, died of a gunshot wound to the head.
After the shooting, West is caught on the body cam footage as distraught over the death. Shoupe tells him “You don’t have to worry about nothing.” Then, in a moment that can only be described as haunting, Shoupe says “I love this s–t” and “God, I tell you what, I thrive on it.” After reassuring the shaken cop that his reaction was “natural,” Shoupe leaves the scene and could be heard talking about the shaken officer.
“Adams took it hard. Hey, he talks that big s–t, but now he’s in the big leagues. You know, if he can’t take it, he needs to get out.”
While it is undoubtedly disturbing that Shoupe gave the order to use deadly force, his interaction with Adam West after is even more chilling, leading attorneys to ask the question: should law enforcement be so comfortable with taking lives?
“The comments as seen on the video are extremely disturbing. I’m not sure how anybody can thrive on the taking of a life, let alone somebody in law enforcement,” David Weissman, the attorney for Dial’s widow, told the Guardian.
The lawsuit claims excessive force, deliberate indifference, failure to train and supervise. It seeks an undisclosed amount of damages.
Footage available courtesty of News Channel 5. Warnings for graphic language.