One night in March 2014, then-Airman First Class Michael Davidson was driving to Johnson-Seymour Air Force Base in North Carolina when he collided with a tractor trailer. Both drivers pulled off the road to wait for police.
Opelika, Alabama, police officer Phillip Hancock was first to respond to a call about an erratic driver. When he arrived at the scene, Davidson got out of his car with his wallet — and Hancock shot twice. One round hit the ground, and one hit Davidson in the abdomen. Davidson later sued Ofc. Phillip Hancock, the city of Opelika, Alabama, and Opelika Police Chief John McEachern for use of excessive force and failure to train officers.
Though the ruling called it a “disastrous mistake,” the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court’s court decision to clear Hancock and Opelika of any wrongdoing. Now, Daily Mail and others have acquired and released the dashcam footage from Hancock’s cruiser that night.
Just seconds separate Davidson exiting his vehicle and Hancock opening fire on the airman. Davidson’s lawyer told WRBL that Davidson struggled to exit his vehicle because it was parked on an incline. He also told WRBL, “In less than six seconds, from the time Michael Davidson opens his door, Officer Hancock shoots him, and he shoots him for absolutely no reason.'”
Davidson’s lawyer says they are still determining whether they will further appeal the shooting.