Oddie Shoupe, a sheriff in White County, Tennessee, is being sued for excessive force after telling deputies to shoot an unarmed man.
Sheriff Oddie Shoupe’s disturbing comments after the fatal 2017 shooting, which were caught on a body camera, are raising fresh questions about what happened.
In April 2017, Smithville police tried to pull over Michael Dial for driving on a suspended license. Dial, who was driving a pickup truck pulling a fully loaded trailer, did not stop, but he couldn’t go very fast.
The police chase clocked in at about 30 to 40 miles per hour, according to a DeKalb County detective. In fact, deputies from DeKalb County said the chase was more like a “funeral procession.”
Eventually, Dial entered neighboring White County. This is when the White County Sheriff’s Office got involved. Reserve Deputy Adam West followed Dial in his own personal pickup. Patrol cars joined the chase.
White County deputies tried to slow Dial down by using a PIT maneuver, a common tactic where a police car nudges another vehicle to turn it sideways.
Shoupe, who was not involved in the chase, gave orders to the radio dispatcher authorizing deputies to shoot Dial.
“Per 59 (the sheriff) use deadly force if necessary,” the radio dispatcher said. “Take the subject out by any means necessary.”
Immediately after the order, West took out his gun. After deputies forced Dial’s truck off the road, West fired three shots as the suspect’s truck went down a ditch. Another officer, Charlie Simms, also fired his weapon.
Dial, who was unarmed, was fatally shot in the head.
Oddie Shoupe’s Remarks Prompt Lawsuit
An excessive-force lawsuit brought forward by Dial’s widow, Robyn, focuses on what happened next. Oddie Shoupe, unaware that another deputy’s body camera was recording, tried to console West after the shooting.
In the video footage, Shoupe says, “You don’t have to worry about this. I made the decision. You don’t have to worry about it. I took that away from y’all. You don’t have to worry about nothing. Everything’s cool. You done exactly right… I told ’em, I said take him out.”
The lawsuit alleges Shoupe “preferred to shoot and kill Mr. Dial rather than risk damaging his patrol cars.”
In the recording, Shoupe says: “They said, ‘We’re ramming him.’ I said, ‘Don’t ram him, shoot him.’ F— that s—. Ain’t gonna tear up my cars.
“If they don’t think I’ll give the damn order to kill that motherf—er they’re full of s—. Take him out. I’m here on the damn wrong end of the county.”
Appearing to be upset that he missed out on the action, Shoupe adds, “I love this s—. God, I tell you what, I thrive on it.”
In June 2017, District Attorney Bryant Dunaway said the shooting was justified. Dial’s widow Robyn doesn’t see it that way.
“The comments as seen on the video are extremely disturbing. I’m not sure how anybody can thrive on the taking of a life, let alone somebody in law enforcement,” said David Weissman, Robyn’s attorney.
Shoupe and the officers involved in the shooting have not commented publicly.