A new federal lawsuit is accusing a Tennessee sheriff of ordering his deputies to shoot an unarmed man during a slow speed chase.
Sheriff Oddie Shoupe of White County is now being sued for excessive force in the death of Michael Dial, who was shot on April 13, 2017, after a slow speed chase over a suspended license.
Dial reportedly refused to pull over for police. While the officers tried to nudge Dial’s pickup truck off the road, Shoupe told them to stop that to avoid damaging their patrol cars, and just go ahead and shoot Dial, according to the New York Daily News.
A deputy’s body camera caught Shoupe talking about that order.
“I said, ‘Don’t ram him, shoot him.’ F–k that s–t. Ain’t gonna tear my cars up. But I got two cars tore up again,” Shoupe said, according to the lawsuit, which was filed by Dial’s widow, Robyn Spainhoward.
“Let me tell you something (Deputy) Gaw, if they don’t think I’ll give the order to kill that motherf–ker, they’re full of s–t,” he added.
After deputies pushed Dial’s truck off the road, Reserve Deputy Adam West opened fire. Officer Charlie Simms also started shooting. Dial was struck in the head.
He was also caught on camera saying, “I love this s–t…I thrive on it.”
“Malicious and sadistic”
Although the police shooting was ruled to be justified, Spainhoward’s lawsuit calls it “not only inappropriate but also unconscionable.”
“The decision to order the use of deadly force when not physically present to evaluate the situation speaks volumes as to the malicious and sadistic mindset of Sheriff Shoupe,” the lawsuit claims.
Spainhoward told News Channel 5 that she is still struggling to come to terms with police shooting.
“When I wake up every day and he’s not there, it’s like going through it all over again,” she said. “They could have let him go ten more miles down the road, he probably would have run out of gas… I just hope he knows I loved him.”
District Attorney Bryant Dunaway is standing by his statement that the police shooting was justified. Although he admitted he had not heard the sheriff’s comments on the body camera when he first made that statement.