U.S. Sixth Circuit - The FindLaw 6th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries Blog

Tennessee Sheriff Sued for Fatal Shooting to Avoid Car Damage

A recently filed federal wrongful death lawsuit in Tennessee alleges excessive force in relation to law enforcement's controversial killing of Michael Dial in April 2017.

The officers involved in the shooting were cleared of wrong doing by the county, which believed the officers acted reasonably. However, Sheriff Oddie Shoupe's statements, captured on audio from the scene after the shooting, belies the county's belief and could be strong evidence for Dial's survivors.

Shoupe Unbelievable

Michael Dial's death was eventful. It is alleged that after being suspected of a Walmart shoplifting, then having some trouble with his license plate and a suspended license, Dial fled from police in his vehicle.

While in pursuit, the White County sheriff instructed officers to shoot at Dial, who was unarmed, rather than ram his car or try other methods to get him to stop. Apparently, the sheriff was concerned about causing damage to the cop cars. After an officer was able to get Dial's car off the road into a ditch, shots were fired. Dial eventually crashed into a tree. More shots were fired. Dial was unresponsive at the scene, and was pronounced dead after being airlifted to a hospital.

The recording from the scene captures Sheriff Shoupe's rather questionable, over-excited, statements about "living" for the type of police action that just unfolded, as well as being much too eager to shoot and kill people. Dashcam footage captures Shoupe giving authorization to use the deadly force.

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