Officer Shoots Unarmed Man, Breaks Down Crying

Police officer Grant Morrison pulled the trigger last April
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 10, 2015 5:00 PM CST

A Montana police officer who shot an unarmed man—and broke down crying afterward—was justified in pulling the trigger, a coroner's jury ruled this week. In a traffic stop last April, Billings police officer Grant Morrison pulled over a car with four people inside and repeatedly told them to raise their hands, the AP reports via Mediaite. When backseat passenger Richard Ramirez didn't raise them, Morrison warned he would shoot. Then he did. "I was getting very scared," Morrison told the jury, the Billings Gazette reports. "He shoved his hand down to his side and started jiggling it up and down." Methamphetamine and a syringe were later discovered near Ramirez's seat, and a toxicology test found a strong dose of meth in his system.

Mediate has a police dashcam video of the shooting (WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT); another dashcam shows Morrison breaking down afterward. "I thought he was going to pull a gun," says a visibly distraught Morrison, the Independent reports. "I don’t know what’s going on." But Ramirez's mother Betty says she still doesn't see why Morrison shot her 38-year-old son. "He was just a good person, and they didn't have to do that to him," she tells the Gazette. "I'm going to fight it. ... I'm not going to give up." A family friend says they saw the hearing as one-sided. The ruling is only a recommendation, but the Yellowstone County Attorney’s Office says it likely won't seek charges. It wasn't Morrison's first such incident, either: In 2013, he fatally shot a man who ignored his orders and reached for what turned out to be a replica BB gun. (More police shooting stories.)

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