A Tennessee widow is suing a county sheriff who was caught on a body camera ordering police to shoot her late husband during a vehicle chase because ramming him would "tear up my cars.”
“They said, ‘we’re ramming him,’” White County Sheriff Oddie Shoupe said, according to the tape. “I said, ‘Don’t ram him, shoot him. F--- that s---. Ain’t gonna tear up my cars.’”
Shoupe made the disturbing comments before he ordered the shooting of Michael Dial, according to video obtained by News Channel 5.
Dial, who had a suspended license but was unarmed, led Smithville police on a low-speed chase after officers tried to pull him over last April. Dial gave chase in his 1976 truck, which was hauling a trailer, at speeds that never exceeded 50 miles per hour.
After Dial crossed county line, White County deputies took over the chase. Shoupe, who was not involved in the chase, gave the radio dispatcher orders to “take him out.”
"Per 59 (the sheriff), use deadly force, if necessary. Take the subject out by any means necessary,” News Channel 5 reported he said.
Deputy Adam West, who was following Dial in his own pickup truck, and Officer Charlie Simms opened fire, killing Dial.
When Shoupe arrived on the scene, he was heard boasting about what happened.
“I love this s---,” he said, according to the tape. “God, I tell you what, I thrive on it.”
Then he’s heard laughing.
“If they don’t think I’ll give the damn order to kill that motherf----- they’re full of s---,” he said, according to the tape. “Take him out. I’m here on the damn wrong end of the county.”
It did not appear Shoupe was aware that he was being recorded. But he was defiant in an interview with SpartaLive.
“I hate that this happened," he said. "But we are not going to tolerate people coming into this county and running over our citizens and our officers, and we will deal with them severely.”
The District Attorney Office ruled the “shooting was justified” but admitted it did not know about Shoupe’s comments during its investigation.
Robyn Dial, the man’s widow, filed a federal lawsuit “alleging the use of excessive force against her late husband.”
“It was not only inappropriate but also unconscionable for Defendant Shoupe to give the order to use deadly force,” the filing said.
The widow’s attorney, David Weissman, told The Guardian the recording left him in disbelief.
“The comments as seen on the video are extremely disturbing,” Weissman said. “I’m not sure how anybody can thrive on the taking of a life, let alone somebody in law enforcement.”
Robyn Dial said her husband would still be alive if not for Shoupe’s order, which she said was excessive and unnecessary.
"They could have let him go 10 more miles down the road, he probably would have run out of gas,” she told News Channel 5. “I just hope he knows I loved him.”