In Tennessee, last April, a slow sped car chase ended when the unarmed driver of the fleeing vehicle was shot dead. It is a story too often told, but what makes this one so notorious is that the local Sheriff ordered his cops to avoid damaging their vehicles and instead use deadly force on the driver. It gets worse — but first, the chase.
Smithville Police in Dekalb County attempted to pull over Michael Dial for driving with a suspended license. He was driving a 1976 pickup and towing a fully loaded trailer. Dial never exceeded 50 mph while traveling mostly between 30 and 40MPH. He drove into White County, the jurisdiction of Sheriff Oddie Shoupe, who had the dispatcher transmit his expectations to the trailing deputies.
“Per 59 (the sheriff) use deadly force if necessary. Take the subject out by any means necessary.”
They took his words to heart. As reported the local TV station News Channel 5: Deputy West took out his gun. They were on Highway 111 with few cars in sight. Minutes later deputies pushed Dial’s truck off the road. West got out of his truck and immediately opened fire. Officer Charlie Simms also started shooting. Dial was struck in the head. He was unarmed.
When his widow was asked why Dial didn’t stop, Robyn Dial said:
“He was scared. I know him enough to know that.” She added, “I feel with every part of me that’s exactly what they wanted to do was kill him.”
And she has grounds to think so. The Sheriff was unaware that a body cam was recording his remarks to a deputy when he arrived.
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.”
“If they don’t think I’ll give the damn order to kill that motherfuck they’re full of shit. (Laughter) Take him out. I’m here on the damn wrong end of the county.”
He then he added what only a sadist or even a sociopath could have said:
“I love this shit. God I tell you what, I thrive on it.”
We hear about the shootings and kills, but how many people suffer every day from the insults and injuries visited on them by ill-trained, psychologically damaged cops?
I believe the vast majority of cops are good people. But we have seen over the last few years that too many problem cops are ignored or hired by other departments after being dismissed from previous jobs.
The police need to police themselves.
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