A Tennessee sheriff is facing a lawsuit after he was caught on camera boasting about the fatal shooting of an unarmed man.
“I love this shit,” White County Sheriff Oddie Shoupe was heard saying on body cam footage. “God, I tell you what, I thrive on it.”
The audio was captured after authorities engaged in a car chase with Michael Dial, whom they shot and killed on April 13, 2017 under Shoupe’s orders. According to the Guardian, officers attempted to pull over Dial after he was caught driving with a suspended license; however, the 33-year-old man drove away in his 1976 pickup at a speed that reportedly never surpassed 50 mph. Once cops were able to push his truck off the road, Officer Charlie Simms opened fire and struck Dial in the head.
The Guardian reports that Sheriff Shoupe was not involved with the chase, though he did authorize the use of deadly force over the radio. The sheriff arrived on the scene shortly after, explaining he had given orders to kill Dial because he didn’t want police vehicles to get damaged. His comments were captured on a body cam that he was presumably unaware of.
“They said ‘We’re ramming him,’” Shoupe can be heard saying after Dial’s death. “I said, ‘Don’t ram him, shoot him.’ Fuck that shit. Ain’t gonna tear up my cars […] If they don’t think I’ll give the damn order to kill that motherfucker they’re full of shit. Take him out. I’m here on the damn wrong end of the county.”
Dial’s widow, Robyn Dial, has since filed a federal lawsuit against the county, the officers involved, and Sheriff Shoupe for use of excessive force.
“The comments as seen on the video are extremely disturbing,” Robyn Dial’s attorney David Weissman told the Guardian. “I’m not sure how anybody can thrive on the taking of a life, let alone somebody in law enforcement.”
The county district attorney deemed the shooting justified a couple of months after Dial's death.
In addition to excessive force, Robyn Dial is suing the defendants over deliberate indifference as well as failure to train and supervise. She is seeking unspecified damages.