Tennessee Sheriff Who ‘Thrives’ on Fatal Encounters Orders Man Shot Dead

“I love this s***. God I tell you what, I thrive on it.”

These words were captured in a recording of White County Sheriff Oddie Shoupe after arriving on the scene of a man who had been fatally shot by one of his deputies.

In April of last year, Michael Dial was driving a pickup truck towing a loaded trailer on the highway. When police realized he had a suspended license, they tried to pull him over. Dial refused and kept driving.

This turned into a slow speed car chase; according to investigators, Dial’s speed topped 50 miles per hour, however he was between 30 and 40 for most of the pursuit. Eventually, Dial crossed county lines into White County, where the sheriff department there took up the chase.

Dashcam footage shows the last several moments of this incident, as deputy vehicles made attempts to nudge Dial off the mostly empty highway to the shoulder. And that’s when the situation quickly escalated. After learning that his deputies’ cruisers were facing damage, Sheriff Shoupe ordered the use of deadly force against Dial.

By Shoupe’s own statement, he heard from his deputies that “we’re ramming him” to which the sheriff reportedly said “Don’t ram him shoot him. F*** that s***. Ain’t gonna tear up my cars.”

Soon after the order was given, deputies began to open fire on Dial’s vehicle. The truck then swerved off the road into roadside foliage, as seen in the video below.

Among the first to confront Dial was Reserve Deputy Adam West, who exited his own vehicle and approached Dial’s, not hesitating to open fire. Officer Charlie Simms also began firing.

Dial was found unarmed, with a fatal head wound.

Body cam footage, taken a short time after Dial was shot, shows Sheriff Shoupe on the scene, consoling Deputy West. West was clearly upset about what had transpired.

“You don’t have to worry about it. I took that away from y’all…Everything’s cool. You done exactly right.”

Please be aware that the following video contains language that some may find offensive.

Before this footage surfaced, District Attorney Bryant Dunaway ruled the shooting to be justified. Even after reviewing the tape, Dunaway says he stands by this decision.

Dial’s family, however, has filed a federal lawsuit against Shoupe. The suit says the death was wrongful in nature. Dial’s wife, Robyn Dial, remains convinced that the sheriff was more concerned with protecting his cars than sparing a life. She also believes the situation could have been handled more tactfully: “They could have let him go ten more miles down the road, he probably would have run out of gas.”

Dail’s unnecessary death at the hands of law enforcement is, unfortunately, not exactly rare. Nor is the flippant and dispassionate attitude expressed by Sheriff Shoupe.

I recently reported on a former senior police officer from Kentucky, Todd Shaw, who was revealed to be encouraging a recruit to kill black people without hesitation. Text messages detailed Shaw’s disturbing guidance, laced with profanities and slurs.

Like Shaw, Shoupe’s career will undoubtedly remain unaffected despite crystal clear evidence that he shouldn’t be anywhere near the law enforcement field. When civil rights activists, like Black Lives Matter supporters, criticize the police, this is precisely what they mean: Even if it’s a matter of some bad eggs among a group of mostly well-meaning officers, allowing people — especially when they are in positions of seniority and leadership — to continue enforcing the law as they see fit demonstrates a fundamental, institutional problem.

White County voters will be asked to choose their next sheriff this fall. Though it’s not yet clear whether Shoupe will seek re-election, there’s no question that he shouldn’t be in this office.

Even though Shoupe still has the remainder of the year to serve his current term as White County sheriff, District Attorney Bryant Dunaway must reconsider his determination that Michael Dial’s death was justifiable, in addition to holding Shoupe and his office accountable.

Take Action!

Tell the White County district attorney that Michael Dial and his family deserve justice. Add your name to this Care2 petition and hold Sheriff Oddie Shoupe responsible for an unnecessary death.

Photo Credit: North Charleston/Flickr

83 comments

Camilla Vaga
Camilla Vaga8 hours ago

thanks

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Janis K
Janis K2 days ago

Thanks for sharing.

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Angela K
Angela K2 days ago

Thank you for sharing

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Leo C
Leo C3 days ago

Thank you for sharing!

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Brian F
Brian F3 days ago

Like most police officers this corrupt sheriff will get away with this murder scot free. The police in America answer only to their corporate masters who own both corrupt parties, and our media.

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Filomena C
Filomena C3 days ago

Thanks

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Filomena C
Filomena C3 days ago

Kill a unarmed man is very wrong!

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Henry M
Henry M5 days ago

Terrible

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Leo C
Leo C6 days ago

thank you for sharing!

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Liliana Garcia
Liliana Garcia6 days ago

Petition signed. I'm sure we had another C2 on this. This man is a murderer and if there is a court system why can't it be used instead of instant executions. He could have been arrested at a later date since they probably knew gis address. Even if they didn't there are ways to send out search notices.

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