Police body cam footage recently exposed a rural Tennessee Sheriff’s sadistic remarks following a fatal shooting of an unarmed man at the conclusion of a non-life threatening slow-speed car chase.
According to a report by NewsChannel 5/WTVF, the incident, which took place in April 2017, started when the victim, Michael Dial failed to pull over after being ordered to do so by a DeKalb County police cruiser. Dial was driving a 1976 pickup truck and hauling a loaded trailer. Following the incident, officers reported the two-county slow-speed chase, never reached speeds above 50 mph.
“The TBI Investigator asked, “How fast do you think it got up to?
Dekalb County Detective Jimmy Martin responded, “We might have got up to 50 at one point. For the most part it was 30 to 40 miles per hour.”
After Dial crossed county lines, White County deputies took over the pursuit. Reserve White County Deputy Adam West then joined the chase in his personal pickup truck. After deputies tried and failed to run Dail off the road, White County Sheriff Oddie Shoupe (who wasn’t involved in the pursuit) authorized officers via the radio dispatcher to use deadly force.
The radio dispatcher said, “Per 59 (the sheriff) use deadly force if necessary. Take the subject out by any means necessary.”
Following the order, West’s body cam (which he was unaware of being on) captured the deputy pulling out his sidearm while continuing his pursuit of Dail’s lumbering vehicle.
The chase was taking place on a mostly deserted highway 111, with very few cars on the road.
Minutes after the order, deputies managed to drive Dail’s truck off the road. West is then seen getting out of his Truck and immediately opens fire on Dial’s vehicle. Another officer, Charlie Simms, also opened fire. Neither officer issued any commands or warning toward the suspect’s vehicle. Dial was struck in the head by one of the officers’ bullets and died on the scene.
During the post-shooting investigation, investigators uncovered West’s body cam footage, which revealed disturbing dialog between Shoupe and his deputies in the immediate aftermath of the fatal shooting. The sheriff seemed more concerned about maintaining the condition of his cruisers than preserving human life.
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.'”
Sheriff Shoupe: “They said ‘we’re ramming him.’ I said, ‘Don’t ram him shoot him.’ Fuck that shit. Ain’t gonna tear up my cars.”
Even more shocking, the sheriff expressed genuine disappointed that he was not present during the shooting, opining on how he wished he could have been in on the action.
“If they don’t think I’ll give the damn order to kill that motherfucker they’re full of shit. (Laughter) Take him out. I’m here on the damn wrong end of the county,” Shoupe said on the body camera.
“I love this shit. God I tell you what, I thrive on it.”
After the fatal shooting, while Shoupe seemed borderline orgasmic, body cam footage captured a distraught West (one of the two officers who fired upon Dail’s vehicle) who was nearly inconsolable with anguish over his actions. Shoupe was quick to reassure the officer that his actions were justified and that he was acting on his orders.
“You don’t have to worry about this. I made the decision. You don’t have to worry about it. I took that away from y’all. You don’t have to worry about nothing. Everything’s cool. You done exactly right,” the sheriff said.
Robyn Dial (Michael Dial’s widow) is still in shock over her husband’s senseless death at the hands of the police.
“Why didn’t he stop?” Dial asked. “He was scared. I know him enough to know that.”
“When I wake up every day and he’s not there, it’s like going through it all over again,” Dial said.
In response to the remarks made by Sheriff Shoupe, Robyn Dail said that she believes her husband was never given a chance to make it out of the situation alive.
“I feel with every part of me that’s exactly what they wanted to do was kill him.”
In her lawsuit, Dial’s widow alleges that Shoupe and both officers who shot at her husband are liable for his wrongful death, claiming that the officers used excessive force. The lawsuit also states that Sheriff Shoupe “preferred to shoot and kill Mr. Dial rather than risk damaging his patrol cars.”
Dial’s attorney says White County Sheriff’s department had no legal justification to take Michael’s life.
“I don’t know how you can thrive on taking a human life. That’s not law enforcement,” Weissman said.
“If that’s the mentality of the highest policy maker in the county, that’s scary,” Weissman said.
However, According to District Attorney Bryan Dunaway, despite the video evidence, he still believes that the shooting was justified, indicating that it’s unlikely any of the officers involved with face career ending or damaging disciplinary consequences from the shooting. Dunaway put out a release, before viewing the body cam footage, which read 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.'”
Meanwhile, Dunaway insists that the police had other non-lethal options they could have used to arrest Dial peacefully that they were either too lazy or cold-blooded to employ.
“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,” Dial said.
This is just another example of how police authoritarianism has gotten out of control in American society. Note, this case was not about race, as many mistakenly associate with unarmed police shootings. In this case, and with many others, the officer who decided to use lethal force was driven by anger and blood-lust. The sheriff comfortably made his decision, knowing full well that he and his men would not face any long-lasting consequences. And it won’t be surprising if Shoupe and his buddies play this video for years to come and joke about it.
This case is just one example of the disease that lies at the heart of the American Justice System. There’s a barrier between the police and everyday citizens that often mistake for an objective point of view known as the “blue line.” However, what may have started out as an ideal for the objectivity and fairness needed to enforce the laws of the land efficiently, has turned into an amoral creed that endorses social superiority over anyone not wearing the uniform.
Now, we have cops who believe themselves to be neither “good guys” or “bad guys,” they think they are just blue. This mindset is the fertile ground from which dictatorships flourish.
Here’s another video featuring Shoupe giving a speech at a Tea Party rally.
One line that sticks out is when he says, “…I am not going to change my ways for just a few.” We must not allow this cancer to kill America.
Feature image via YouTube.