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Some officer-involved shootings are easier to explain than others. This recently-released video of a 2014 shooting that resulted from an officer arriving at the scene of a minor traffic accident, however, is much more difficult to accept than some.

Police released footage of a 2014 shooting of a man who failed to show his hands while exiting his vehicle after a traffic accident.

Officer Phillip Hancock responded to an erratic driver call on March 6, 2014 and discovered Michael Davidson had swiped the back of a tractor-trailer, WRBL reported. Both drivers pulled over to the shoulder to exchange information.

Davidson exited his vehicle with his black wallet in his hand, leading Hancock to believe it was a gun, WTVM reported. Hancock told Davidson to show his hands twice before firing one shot into the ground and another that wounded Davidson.

Let’s go to the video, and then break things down.

Officer Phillip Hancock arrives at the scene of a minor accident, where Michael Davidson’s SUV had “swiped” the back of a tractor trailer. The truck driver got out of his vehicle and began walking back as Davidson attempted to force the door of his SUV open, which was a bit harder to push open than normal because the driver’s side of the vehicle was on an uphill slope.

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It is as Davidson is still trying to get out of the SUV, struggling against the weight of the door, that Officer Hancock spots a black object in Davidson’s right hand. He screams loudly, “Let me see your hands!” Davidson continues to try to struggle out of the vehicle, apparently hearing but not processing Hancock’s command.

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Davidson finally forces the door open as Officer Hancock screams again, “let me see your hands!” Davidson is bringing his black wallet in his right hand to his left hand (above) as Hancock issues his command. Davidson’s movement looks reasonably similar to someone attempting to establish a two-handed grip on a handgun before pressing out.

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Unfortunately, it is about the time that Davidson has his hands in that pseudo-firing grip that he finally seems to process Officer Hancock’s commands to show his hands. Instead of simply freezing, however, he quickly raises both airs, with the hand holding the wallet arcing up at Officer Hancock, who cranks off two rounds.

The first strikes Mr. Davidson low and exits his back just above the pelvis on the left side.

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The second ricochets off the pavement (above) just beside Davidson’s foot. Davidson goes down immediately afterward.

The incident lasted just three seconds from the first warning to the last shot fired.

The video from the shooting has generated a lot of controversy, but two courts courts have looked at the available evidence and determined that Officer Hancock’s use of force based upon Davidson’s actions was justifiable.



Comments:
Regardless of what the courts decided, I think the officer was a little too quick on the draw. He had cover of his patrol car and the driver was in the open so he should have done a better assessment before shooting. It's kind of difficult to exit a vehicle that is setting at an upward angle and show your hands. After the shooting I was surprised that Hancock didn't approach Davidson, kick his wallet away and handcuff him. Instead, he kept telling him to not move. Was it because he was injured and bleeding or was it because he was still in fear of his life? Luckily for Davidson someone finally decided to call an ambulance.

And, adding insult to injury, the U.S. District Court which issued the original decision on the lawsuit in December 2016, also ordered Davidson at the time to pay $15,354.82 for legal costs to the City of Opelika, Hancock and another officer who was there.
Posted by Nick Elodeon at 3/19/2017 4:18:57 PM

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