"I told 'em I said, TAKE HIM OUT! Damn, I don't give a sh**!" These are the words of Sheriff Oddie Shoupe of White County, Tennessee after ordering one of his deputies to use lethal force on a suspect in a slow speed car chase. The officer had radioed that he was going to ram the vehicle off the road, but evidently Sheriff Shoupe was more concerned about damage to his patrol cars than the life of a human being. The dialogue was recently uncovered through Nashville's News Channel 5 investigation into the events that occurred April of last year. A federal lawsuit is incoming now related to the fatal shooting of Michael Dial. Dial was driving a 1976 pickup, towing a fully loaded trailer (hence the slow speed chase) when he crossed the Dekalb County line past Smithville, Tennessee Sparta's officers took over in pursuit.
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Michael's widow, Robyn Dial, is shocked at the occurrence and especially at how callous the Sheriff was in his statements after the shooting which were recorded, unbeknownst to the Sheriff, on a bodycam that had been removed and placed in the back of a patrol car. Dekalb county deputies referred to the speed of the chase as more like a funeral procession than a high speed chase. Sadly fitting considering the undue fatality that resulted. Video released by News Channel 5 features the whole ordeal from the chase to the killing to the callous aftermath.
"Per 59 (the sheriff) use deadly force if necessary. Take the subject out by any means necessary."
The officer, Deputy Adam West, who was ordered to kill Michael Dial was audibly in tears. Sheriff Shoupe reassures the deputy that he will take full responsibility:
<blockquote>"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."</blockquote>
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Later on the bodycam recording you can hear the Sheriff explaining, regarding the deputies reaction to taking a human life, that this is "the big leagues" and that the job isn't for "no wusses." Dial was unarmed when he was struck through the head.
Sheriff Shoupe: "I told em, I said take him out."
Deputy: "I heard."
Sheriff Shoupe: "Da, I don't give a sh."
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.' 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."
There's a sort of sick glee expressed by the Sheriff who seems remorseful only that he wasn't there to see (or take part in) the bloodshed. Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and the District Attorney initially ruled the shooting justified. That was before the damning bodycam footage was released.
"I love this sh**. God I tell you what, I thrive on it."
Robyn Dial's attorney David Weissman asserts there was no good reason to shoot Dial, much less "shoot to kill." The cornerstone of the federal lawsuit is the claim that Sheriff Shoupe "preferred to shoot and kill Mr. Dial rather than risk damaging his patrol cars." Considering the footage uncovered by News Channel 5, their claims of "excessive force" seem fairly well founded.
<b>Warning the video below features graphic language!</b>
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Attorney Weissman makes an excellent point, "I don't know how you can thrive on taking a human life. That's not law enforcement." Local law enforcement is charged "to serve and protect." Here at the Goldwater we definitely support our boys in blue, when they are in the right, but wearing a uniform does not make you exempt from the rule of law or basic human decency. Perhaps some poetic justice might be served if Sheriff Shoupe ended up sharing a cell in White County with some of the (equally morally bankrupt) thugs and gangbangers he has had put away.
Did the Sheriff run off at the mouth HELL YES!
But was he wrong ??
With additional fact the fuller version of the story.
The Flip side of the story coin ….
Police pursuit of Michael Zennie Dial II of Clarksville began in Smithville when police there responded to a report of shoplifting at Wal-Mart, according to District Attorney Bryant Dunaway.
Police there found that Dial not only had a revoked driver license, but his license plate did not match the vehicle he was driving. He was also pulling a loaded utility trailer.
Smithville Police attempted a traffic stop, but Dial allegedly refused to stop. The pursuit continued on Hwy. 70 into White County on Hwy. 111, where Dial allegedly passed vehicles on double yellow lines, ignored stop lights and drove into oncoming traffic.
Police attempted to block Dial’s vehicle to stop him, but Dial rammed into the side and rear of police vehicles multiple times during the pursuit, according to Dunaway.
Dial’s truck drove down an embankment on Hwy. 111 and then began to drive back up the grass hill toward the highway and a Sparta Police officer’s vehicle, which prompted that officer to fire four rounds at Dial’s vehicle. A reserve deputy with the White County Sheriff’s Office also fire several rounds at Dial’s vehicle, which stopped at the bottom of a hill.
Dial suffered a gunshot wound to the head and later passed away from his injuries.
A toxicology report following Dial’s death revealed that his blood tested positive for drugs, including methamphetamine, amphetamine and carboxy-THC.
Either way let us not overlook :
He was high on METH and other drugs.
He had committed and was still committing felonies.
He attacked Police using his vehicle multiple times.
He damaged numerous vehicles.
He placed officers and numerous civilians lives in endanger.
When ALL he had to do was STOP.
All he had to do was stop? But he DID!
But he DID stop. He was off the road, our of the vehicle and unarmed when he was shot dead. His past record has nothing to do with him being murdered over a traffic violation.
Also, the Sheriff ADMITTED he authorized deadly force because he didn't want his patrol car damaged.
Then there's the bit of legal research another of our writers recently dug up:
In Tennessee V. Garner, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that an officer cannot use deadly force against a fleeing suspect unless the suspect is a significant threat to the officer or to others. Force must be judged from the perspective of a reasonable officer on the scene, rather than with the 20/20 vision of hindsight.
My point in bringing this case up is that the sheriff who authorized the shooting was not on scene when he ordered deputies to kill Michael Dial. Since Sheriff Oddie Shoupe was not on the scene he could not reasonably say his life was in danger, nor could he know whether his deputies lives were in danger.