A Tennessee sheriff told his deputies to avoid ramming their car into a man during a car chase by simply shooting him instead. White County Sheriff Eddie Shoupe said in recordings that were recently released he didn't want to risk causing damage to his car as the rationalization behind shooting motorist Michael Dial.
“They said, ‘we’re ramming him,’” Shoupe was recorded saying on a body camera. “I said, ‘Don’t ram him, shoot him.’ F**k that s**t. Ain’t gonna tear up my cars.”
The car chase took place on April 13, 2017, but a video from police body camera footage was released by News Channel 5 on Tuesday.
Video obtained by Scripps station WTVF in Nashville shows the White County, Tennessee Sheriff discussing his order to use deadly force with another deputy.
The chase began after Shoupe pulled Dial over while they were investigating a nearby shoplifting incident in the Dekalb County parking lot, HuffPost reported. Shoupe and his deputies discovered that Dial had a suspended license, and warned him not to continue driving with it. Afterwards, the officers saw Dial on the highway, again, and tried to pull him over. Dial drove away, which brought forth the car chase where events quickly escalated when Shoupe instructed his officers to use “deadly force.”
White County Deputy Adam West then went on to open fire on Dial's vehicle. As Dial's truck crashed, Sparta police officer Charlie Sims also fired several times.
At some point in the midst of the shooting, Dial — who was unarmed — was struck in the head and killed.
Robyn Spainhoward, Dial's wife, later arrived on the scene to view her husband’s body when Shoupe’s comments were recorded. When referencing the death of Dial, the recording reveals Shoupe saying, “I love this s**t. God, I tell you what, I thrive on it.”
Spainhoward is suing Shoupe for an excessive use of force, according to The Hill. The lawsuit cites Shoupe’s intentions as “malicious and sadistic” as evidenced by his comments. The suit also names both the county in which the incident took place, as well as the two deputies who fired the fatal shots at Dial for their involvement in Dial's death.
In May 2017, District Attorney Bryant Dunaway called the shooting justifiable, claiming the deputies acted within their jurisdiction and had reasonable cause for their actions.