A Montana police officer pulled over an unarmed man for a traffic stop and shot him. Officer Grant Morrison testified to a jury that he feared for his life because the man was high on methamphetamines and was worried he was reaching for a gun, so he fired.
The jury viewed the dash-cam video that showed Morrison shouting at Richard Ramirez multiple times to put his hands up before he fired three times into the car, killing him.
The jury cleared him of wrongdoing, and this week also saw the release of dash cam video showing Morrison breaking down moments after he fatally shot Ramirez. In the video, you can hear him breathing heavily as colleagues try to calm him down. At one point, Morrison starts crying and says, “I thought he was gonna pull a gun on me.”
During his testimony, Morrison said, “It’s the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make,” according to the Billings Gazette. “I wish I didn’t have to make it. I wish I just knew he didn’t have a gun, but I couldn’t take the risk.”
The seven-person jury determined that Morrison was justified in shooting the unarmed Ramirez, as Morrison believed that Ramirez was reaching for a gun in his waistband during a traffic stop.
“I knew in that moment, which later was determined to be untrue, but I knew in that moment that he was reaching for a gun,” said Morrison, a five-year police veteran. “I couldn’t take that risk. … I wanted to see my son grow up.”
The jury deliberated for about an hour before delivering the verdict. The Associated Press reported that Ramirez family members intend to file a lawsuit against Morrison and the Billings Police Department alleging excessive use of force.
You can watch the video here, via the Billings Gazette:
You can watch the dash cam video of the shooting incident in question (WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT):