An Alabama cop was cleared in the shooting of an unarmed man who exited his car holding a wallet after colliding with a tractor-trailer, NY Daily News reports.
A federal appeals court upheld a previous decision that police officer Phillip Hancock reasonably shot Air Force veteran Michael Davidson in 2014.
“After careful consideration and review of a video recording of the shooting, viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to Davidson, we conclude that a reasonable officer in Hancock’s position would have feared for his life,” the three-judge panel wrote.
Dashcam footage from the incident shows Davidson struggling to open his front door, then emerging holding something. Hancock orders him to show his hands, and Davidson moves the wallet between them. Hancock then shoots twice at Davidson, hitting him once in the abdomen.
Afterwards, Davidson sued Hancock, the police department and the city of Opelika.
A lawyer for Davidson, Brian Mosholder, disputed the ruling exonerating Hancock:
“It’s very obvious from that part of the video that Officer Hancock is creating a situation that he wished had happened that would have justified this shooting,” he told WRBL on Wednesday. “When you look at the video, none of that happened. When you look at that video, in less than six seconds, from the time Michael Davidson open his door, Officer Hancock shoots him, and he shoots him for absolutely no reason.”
The city stood by the court’s ruling:
“The City, the Chief of Police and its officer have always denied any wrongdoing,” it said in a statement. “This case has now been analyzed by two federal courts … The judges have unanimously determined after a review of the evidence, which includes the dashcam video, there was no wrongdoing on behalf of the City, the Chief, or the involved officer. In reaching their respective decisions, these Federal Courts reviewed all of the evidence. Their opinions are clearly supported by all evidence.”
(image via screengrab)