Police Abuse

Shooting of Unarmed Airman Ruled 'Reasonable'—Dashcam Vid Released Three Years Later

Footage shows the cleared officer shooting Michael Davidson within 6 seconds of the man exiting his vehicle.

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dashcam

Michael Davidson was on his way to the Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in North Carolina, according to his father, when he got into a minor traffic accident which resulted in a police officer, Phillip Hancock, showing up and shooting Davidson after he exited the car. The father complained after the 2014 shooting that no one had informed him his son had been shot by police until an officer investigating the shooting called. The local Alabama police department whose officer shot Davidson insisted it was the state's responsibility to inform the father.

Nearly three years after the shooting, an appeals court upheld a lower court's decision that Hancock's use of force was "reasonable," and that because of the way Hancock was holding a wallet while he exited the vehicle, his constitutional rights weren't violated. Hancock claimed he thought the wallet was a gun when he shot Davidson in the abdomen—Davidson survived but his lawsuit was eventually thrown out.

One of Davidson's attorneys, Brian Mosholder, claimed it was "very obvious" from the dashcam video that the officer was "creating a situation that he wished had happened that would have justified this shooting." The city of Opelika, where the shooting happened, released a statement after the latest court ruling, saying it, the chief of police, and Hancock himself had "always denied any wrongdoing."

Dashcam footage of the March 2014 incident was finally released last week. The judges who reviewed the tape said they saw Davidson bring the wallet forward as if it were a gun. I don't see that, but I didn't go to law school or pass the bar and don't work in a profession closely linked to the law enforcement community. You can watch for yourself below. The incident starts at about 20 seconds in. Afterward, instead of offering medical help to the unarmed man shot by a cop, other officers console Hancock.

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  1. Hold your wallet like a thug, get gutshot like a thug.

    1. This is why we need common sense assault wallet control.

      1. If a wallet is black, opens, has more than 10 slots- it should be banned.

        Americans for sensible wallet control.

        1. Also if it’s got the clear plastic piece that flips up.

    2. He didn’t even get a chance to put his hands up. The truck driver in the background holding his hands up is probably thinking “I’m next”.

  2. I wonder hiw the police woild feel if we started to tell them “You’ve shot so many people because, you claim, they were holding innocuous objects you mistakenly thought were guns that we are going to require you to acctually get shot before you fire from now on.”

  3. You can see from the video how upset the cop is, isn’t that punishment enough?

    1. “Shooting a dude doesn’t feel nearly as awesome as i thought it would!”

      1. You need to shoot him while he’s on the crapper, a la Unforgiven.

        1. -1 Tywin Lannister

        2. Or, like I joked about below, just practice on some dogs first. Then once you’re desensitized to the idea of shooting a defenseless animal, you graduate to shooting unarmed humans. Ease into it in other words.

    2. He should have thought of that before shooting someone AS THEY STEP OUT OF THEIR VEHICLE!

      He SHOULD feel bad, and he SHOULD be held accountable! Jeffery Dahmer looked quite upset, too, when he was in court. (PS. it wasn’t because he killed people. It’s because he got caught.)

  4. When in (or passing through!) Opelika dine atChuck’s BBQ . It’s right across the street from the police station.

    You can get there in about 5 minutes from I-85

    1. And order the roasted pig?

      1. Chipped pork sandwich

        1. “Chipped on the block” is what you want to order. I believe they have a special on a particular day or time for the “chipped pork” which come with sauce already added. I’ll eat those on special but if I’m paying full freight “chipped on the block” is the way to go.

      2. Chuck’s BBQ is who SIV sells his roosters to once he’s … through with them.

    2. It’s a trap!

  5. The judges who reviewed the tape said they saw Davidson bring the wallet forward as if it were a gun. I don’t see that, but I didn’t go to law school or pass the bar and don’t work in a profession closely linked to the law enforcement community. You can watch for yourself below. The incident starts at about 20 seconds in. Afterward, instead of offering medical help to the unarmed man shot by a cop, other officers console Hancock.

    *swoons*

    1. Brothers in Arms, supporting each other in the WarOnCops.
      So brave.
      [single tear]

    2. Just like the Philando Castille affair.

  6. I’m . . . simply astonished at this. Even accounting for the differences in laws and “gun culture,” no cop in Canada shows up to a fender bender automagically assuming that one of the involved parties is gonna pull a gun on him. Their first thought is to quickly assess damage and injuries and then to call for EMS if necessary.

    I oughta know ? I’ve been in a number of fender-benders and rear-end collisions (many at night and none of them my fault, thankfully), and I’ve never seen anything remotely like this behaviour. WTF? Do all cops in the States simply assume that every traffic accident’s just a staged incident to ambush a police officer?

    This cop at least deserves to be counting paperclips for the rest of his “career.” No one that trigger-happy should be allowed anywhere near a firearm. Ever.

    1. Do all cops in the States simply assume that every traffic accident’s just a staged incident to ambush a police officer?

      No. However, it does seem like many jittery retards aspire to become police officers.

      1. Good God. “War on cops,” my ass. More like War on Citizens.

        1. That was murder! The kid was parked on a slope so it was hard to open his door but he was acting like a good citizen and ready to give his ID- blam- blam…

          Cope should fry for being so stupid. Anyone else would.

          1. I missed the part about the kid living. Attempted murder it is. Absolutely not what cops should be doing.

        2. Yeah, if there’s a “War on Cops”, the cops seem to be winning. Well, in terms of body count, anyway.

      2. Seems like many judges are pushover retards that kiss the asses of the police departments and the police unions. Nothing will change until some politicians, judges or other police get shot by police at a traffic stop.

        1. Or citizens start using their right to rebel……

    2. The astonishing part is that he got away with it. Well, it should be astonishing. But in reality, it is not.

    3. Do all cops in the States simply assume that every traffic accident’s just a staged incident to ambush a police officer?

      Many cops assume that literally every person they encounter during their duties is a cop killer just waiting for an opening to kill them. They’re actually trained to think that way. Because “war on cops.” /no sarc

      1. This man is a definite psychopath and he’s convincing cops that his pathological lack of empathy for any human life is the way all cops should be. And he’s being paid by our taxes to spread that message.

        https://goo.gl/BKFOuy

    4. This cop at least deserves to be counting paperclips for the rest of his “career.” No one that trigger-happy should be allowed anywhere near a firearm. Ever.

      In a few years, he’ll probably take a disability pension claiming the PTSD from the instance prevents him from continuing to work. Downside is we’ll have to keep paying his salary forever, but at least the public will be safe from him.

  7. Piece of shit cop: “are you armed?”
    Dying military airman involved in minor traffic accident: “no”

    Another fucking horrible police action that has no excuse nor should get any immunity.

  8. Poor wittle baby that mean man scared you and made you shoot. Who’s a brave boy? Hmm, who’s a brave boy? That’s right sweetie, you’re a brave boy.

    1. Honest to God, my 120-pounds-soaking-wet wife’s got more stones than this “cop” showed.

      Bigger ones, too.

      “I was afraid for my life.” Really? Hmmmm. Perhaps you’ve chosen the wrong profession. Maybe you should be working the drive-thru window at Mickey D’s.

      1. Fast food drive-thru workers actually have a slightly more dangerous job.

    2. Yeah, what a fucking joke. If you’re that chickenshit, don’t become a cop. Hell, don’t even get out of bed every day, because there’s always something “scary” out there that might get you. And how anybody can watch that video and not see that the cop fucked up big time is beyond me.

  9. fat retarded panic fire.

    1. You’d panic too if we were in the middle of a War on Lone Wackos.

  10. It would be interesting to hear the diapatch tapes. If this asshole knew he was responding to a fender bender and acted like this.

  11. I don’t see that, but I didn’t go to law school or pass the bar and don’t work in a profession closely linked to the law enforcement community.

    So you don’t put yourself on the frontline? You don’t go to war with a relentless enemy every day? You don’t fight an endless battle with those who would break your laws? You don’t not know for sure if when the next time you assert your authority on someone otherwise going about their business that you’re going to survive the encounter with the same number of bullets you started out with? You don’t stuff an unhealthy amount of junk food into your pie hole to the point that you could no longer meet any level of physical ability requirement for the job you hold? Then shut up.

    1. You don’t stuff an unhealthy amount of junk food into your pie hole to the point that you could no longer meet any level of physical ability requirement for the job you hold?

      Yeah, I was kinda wondering about the part where Jabba the Hutt shows up in uniform. Kinky.

      1. Jabba showed far more restraint and cunning.

    2. The Marines rules of engagement is a fucking war zone are more strict than this and those people actually want to kill you.

      This is so enraging it makes me green. People allow this shit too. Marines would be court martial for this shit in a war zone.

  12. You know who else was quick on the trigger?

    Frank Cannon

    1. Dirty Harry? Oh wait, he had to get the words” do you feel lucky punk”? Before he shot

  13. The lesson is obvious. Don’t show ID to a cop.

    1. Yeah, ’cause, y’know, the ID might be loaded.

  14. If a civilian got into an accident, and shot the other person getting out of their vehicle because they thought their wallet was a gun, I wonder what would happen.

    1. Obviously they would get away with it too, because there’s no double standard whatsoever.

      Smooches, hth

      1. The kings men, man….the kings men. People think this is acceptable too!

  15. Clearly this cop is racist.

  16. If you see a legislator holding a wallet, follow the rules and shoot him. Particularly if it’s your wallet.

    1. So, just any legislator, then?

  17. Nearly three years after the shooting, an appeals court upheld a lower court’s decision that Hancock’s use of force was “reasonable,” and that because of the way Hancock was holding a wallet while he exited the vehicle, his constitutional rights weren’t violated.

    I’m confused. Who was holding the wallet? The cop who shot Davidson? So the shooting was “reasonable” because the cop was holding a wallet? WTF?

  18. On the “holding wallet like a gun”, he clearly had both hands on his wallet when getting out of the car while struggling with the heavy door on an incline on the shoulder of the road. He turns directly toward the officer, holding a black object in two hands in the center of his chest.

    If you were doing a training exercise where you were standing in front of a projection screen, this is exactly the scenario they would have with the guy jumping out and firing at you. Bang! You’re dead!

    This is 100% a training problem, not a “vicious cop who wants to kill someone” problem.

    The officer exits the vehicle and draws his gun immediately, aiming at the driver before he can open his door. When the door opens he immediately starts yelling “let me see your hands”. He is clearly in “hostile and armed suspect” mode, following his training. This is why he was let off. He did exactly as he was trained.

    So where did they go wrong?

    Well, it is an accident investigation, right? So why does he pull in front of the other vehicle and draw his weapon? If he was so worried about what he was confronting late at night on the side of the road, why didn’t he stay in the car and use his PA to communicate orders to the driver, giving him time and control. And why get so close, if you are that scared? These are training issues. Once he is 25 feet away from a guy who doesn’t know he’s a target and is struggling to get a door open, it is too late.

    1. Well, it is an accident investigation, right? So why does he pull in front of the other vehicle and draw his weapon?

      Maybe you didn’t get the memo. There’s a war on cops. The accident could have been a trap.

    2. Confronted with a guy in your gun sights who isn’t responding to commands and turns toward you with something black in his two hands in classic “holding a gun to move into firing position” pose, you are going to shoot. It is everything that happened to put you in that position that got the guy killed.

      Unless the report was “shots fired on the side of the road”, he had no excuse for drawing his weapon in the first place. But that isn’t his fault. He was trained to handle a “dangerous situation” this way.

      The police department, the leadership in the department, the political leaders who hired them…. they all need to be held accountable for pointing the loaded gun at this poor guy on the side of the road. They killed him as sure as if they had pulled the trigger themselves. They are responsible, much more than the guy in the patrol car who is doing what he was trained to do and responding how his training dictated.

      If you set up a giant guillotine in a hallway and have a big red button to release the blade right under the blade with a big “push me” sign on it, you are a murderer, even if you didn’t push the button yourself. That’s exactly what happened here. They taught this guy to point his gun at the motorist and that he only had a millisecond to decide to fire. What the heck do you think is going to happen under those conditions? Eventually, some poor guy is going to die, that’s what.

      1. Let’s say a private citizen goes to a CCW training class that’s taught by an idiot, and following that poor training, said private citizen shoots an unarmed person holding a wallet. Does this private citizen get to use the “poor training” excuse to get away with it scot-free?

        I don’t give a shit how bad the cop’s training was — the main issue is that he shot somebody for no reason. Training is no fucking excuse.

        1. This! He is still responsible for his actions. Citizens struggle to stay out of jail and being railroaded when they kill an intruder in their fucking house. Let alone killing someone on a public road under dubious reasons.

        2. Of course its an excuse. If the police policy and his training tells him to do exactly what he did, it is absolutely a training and policy problem. That is what is always overlooked in reporting on these incidents. The police are held accountable according to the policy they are commanded to follow and in accordance with their training. The bigger questions that need to be addressed in order to fix these problems are getting better policy written by cities, states and the feds and making sure the policy is tied to the law, and that the tactics the police are trained to follow conform to the policy and what the public expects from them. As of now its all out of whack.

          1. No it is not. The officer is responsible for his actions just like every other fucking human being in the world. Just like 2 shit head boots are responsible for listening to a POS Cpl telling them to ride a marine out of bed and to beat him to a bloody pulp.

            This cop is 100% responsible for attempted murder.

      2. There was no killing. The victim, Michael Davidson, is not dead. Not that it changes the cop’s mistakes or culpability.

    3. If you were doing a training exercise where you were standing in front of a projection screen, this is exactly the scenario they would have with the guy jumping out and firing at you. Bang! You’re dead!

      Honestly, I thought it was exactly the scenario they showed you where if you fired your own weapon, you failed the test.

      1. Yea i don’t know what he is talking about. I never would believe this situation would ever warrant someone getting shot or believe you are in reasonable fear for your life.

    4. “This is 100% a training problem, not a “vicious cop who wants to kill someone” problem.”

      It’s actually the training GOAL. Lots of our money spent on it too.

      https://goo.gl/BKFOuy

      1. SomeGuy- read Trainer’s link. Then you’ll know what I’m talking about.

        This is not some individual rogue trainer making a mistake. Nor is it a killer cop. They are being taught to escalate force and protect themselves at all costs and better to be judged by 12 than carried by 6 and… and…. and…

        If their instructions inevitably lead to “tragic mistakes” – are they really mistakes? And who’s mistakes are they? I am arguing that they are trained to act in a way that inevitably kills maybe 50 to 100 people who pose no threat every year. Blaming the individual 50 officers who fired the shot is not productive. The fault lies with those who wind them up and point them in the direction of the public.

        1. You can blame training all you want but the person made that choice to take a life. I can be trained to do all sorts of things in the Marine Corps but I make the choice to murder someone needlessly.

          I don’t care if the Marine Corps trains me to shoot anything that moves. It is my choice to follow those guidelines. If i was a cop I would not shoot in this case even if training and the law told me to because i am not a statist pig.

          1. We are all told to blood stripe a new Cpl. I never did and never would because i don’t want that done to me. This is just basic hazing and i still refuse to take part in it. This isn’t even murder but has resulted in crippling people. I refused even when I would likely receive some sort of retaliation.

            I also told everyone if they blood stripped me I would slit their throat…and no one dared to blood stripe me because they knew i would. I am not about to blame “training” for the murdering of people.

            1. Remember i have a right to defend myself from sever bodily harm and death. I would be well within my natural right to kill anyone trying to bash my bad knees that could result in me becoming a cripple.

              I have no problem defending myself or my rights even when the big green weenie owned my soul.

          2. but *you* make the choice to murder someone needlessly.

          3. SomeGuy- it goes beyond choices. This training is not teaching them how to shoot and then letting them make the choice. The purpose of this training is to make the cops feel as though they MUST shoot and that there will be no consequences. So the cops are ready to shoot thinking that everyone is out to get them and they deserve to live more than the other person.

            Unfortunately, what you see in this video and any video of a shooting is that the consequences to exist and they are immediate. The cops are believing the lies of this psychopath who wouldn’t feel any emotion at killing anyone so he thinks the only consequences are legal ones. Shooting another human being even when totally justifies is emotionally devastating. That’s what our police officers need to be taught.

            1. as I said above. The person is still responsible for his fucking actions. You choice to follow those actions. I never hazed or beat a fellow marine even though I was trained to do so because i am not a fucking pussy scum bag.

              If I was trained to kill everything that moved i would not comply because i am not a statist scum bag.

              The training and laws enable these fucks to be statist pussy pant shittiers. They still choice to be a pants shittier.

          4. Okay, SomeGuy, I’ll give you that. We are all responsible for our own actions. But the choice was made based on training that made him feel that shooting was the only choice and that choice would be protected. When it comes to the actions of agents of the state spending our tax money, should they be learning the goal is to kill and then have some “expert” lie for you on the stand or should we be training them to know that they are going to be held accountable for their actions up to and including a murder conviction?

            People are capable of a lot of atrocities but most people don’t commit them because we have societal checks in place. The man teaching these cops (who tend to be the type of people who would be more willing to kill someone than the general population imo) has taken away those balances. So, in the end, yeah, the police officer made the choice. But we don’t want to deal with the end because that means someone is already shot or dead. We need to be aware that the goals of police have changed (on our dime) and work to change them back.

        2. cops kill 1000 plus a year and shoot and harm countless others we don’t even know about. The man is responsible and the training and laws enable the man to be a statist reckless pig and i am not about to let this fuck off the hook.

    5. That would be very strange training, since no one holds a pistol at their chest to fire. The guy panicked.

      1. He also said the guy jumped out of his SUV…I am pretty sure he struggled for a while due to the door and gravity. Car doors are actually super hard to open on a fucking hill.

  19. Afterward, instead of offering medical help to the unarmed man shot by a cop, other officers console Hancock.

    “The first shooting is always the hardest, but you’ll get over it. This is why it’s a good idea to practice on some dogs, just to get used to the idea of shooting a harmless living being first, then you can move on to shooting people.” /cop

  20. Once I saw the video, I realized why this wasn’t 24/7 national news when it happened.

  21. Does it make me a bad libertarian if my first thought on watching the video was “fuck, when the cops get around to shooting me I hope I don’t scream all high pitched like this guy”.

    1. Looks like home boy got shot either in or near his twigs and berries. I’m going to be the last to judge.

      1. Good point. News reports that specify location say abdomen, which is also supposed to be super painful, but news gets stuff wrong all the time.

        1. looks like the pelvic and if that bone gets hit or cracked its horrible. Its 1 of 2 areas you shoot for failure drills.

    2. Hancock claimed he thought the wallet was a gun when he shot Davidson in the abdomen

      I’ve heard being shot in the gut is very, very painful. Since I’ve never been shot in the gut myself, I’ll reserve judgement.

  22. To protect and serve hunh? Police need to error on the side of not shooting people. The right to self defense for police should not be above the citizenry. If only we had someone to protect and serve the citizens from the police. Luck for him the kid wasn’t black. He might of got justice. He made a mistake, charge him with assault at least. We should make the law start centering upon victims. As non-law enforcement personnel, I can distinguish between a gun and what people in a car accident would almost certainly be holding. I’m sure they would never charge a citizen for such a mistake…. Perhaps justice will randomly find this POS.

    1. You say that after being told the guy was not armed watching a video from the comfort of your home without being amped on a call (all cops get amped on calls). I was expecting this to be a totally unjustified shooting before i watched this and yet i can see how the cop thought it was a gun in a split second. I bet if this was a FATS simulation, 9 out of 10 of all of the commenters here would have shot the guy too.

      1. Bullshit, I know I wouldn’t shoot someone trying to get out of a car like that. It is ridiculous. Just like Marines in a fucking war zone get court martialed for this shit and kicked out and even thrown into the brig. Fuck off you piece of shit!

      2. Additionally, in a sane world cops are held to a higher standard for use of force not lower you statist shit. If you don;t want to be a hero and take the risk of in some super small world of getting shot dont be a fucking cop.

        Again Marines in fucking war zones with real fucking enemies have stricter requirements on self defense. Additionally, they get court martialed and thrown into the brig and than after term kicked out and maybe also tried for double jeopardy.

        Fuck you slaver!

  23. Afterward, instead of offering medical help to the unarmed man shot by a cop, other officers console Hancock.

    Not only that, they’re pointing guns into the empty vehicle while the unarmed, unthreatening man they just shot lays bleeding to death on the side of the road. It looks like they thought they were playing a fucking video game.

    1. The complete disregard for a human being here is appalling and one that is a victim of attempted murder.

  24. Am I the only one who thinks its reasonable for a man to seek revenge (right to rebel) after they go through the court system and the court systems are complicit? What other options does this man have to protect his rights and others?

    If this kid went and killed the cop after the courts ignored the lawsuit…i would jury nullify any charges against the kid.

  25. Long past are the days when it was respectable to be a cop in America.

    If the majority of cops were “good,” then they would be lining up to condemn this decision just like they lined up to fuck Celeste Guap.

    1. Harsh but true.

  26. Also check out last week’s This American Life episode. A cop shoots an unarmed man in a hospital room

  27. Perhaps the USAF could stage a little “accident” with a Reaper drone.

    “That cooler looked just like a bomb from 20,000 feet, I swear! Promise we’ll revisit our training procedures.”

  28. You know what just hit me? He actually shot the guy and from a good distance away too! When my son who used to compete in shooting events went to the police academy, he said quite a few of his fellow classmates had never shot a gun. And this is in Texas where you would think we would all have guns but the age of 4. They got a full 3 days of gun training. Anyway, bad decision but good shooting.

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