Cameron Massey was shot in October 2013 after trying to leave a traffic stop in his friend’s car. Originally the officers claimed to be in imminent danger but the newly released body camera footage contradicts their statements. Proving once again that cops are liars who should never be trusted.
Officers cannot just shoot people based on absolutely irrational perspectives about a scenario,” Mario Williams, the lawyer for the Massey family, told BuzzFeed News. “This was an absolutely unreasonable shooting.”
The driver of the car was talking with an officer about the smell of cannabis when a different officer directed his attention to the passenger. As he approaches the officers yells “Put your hands on the dashboard!” multiple times. He then pulls out his gun and points it Massey.
Officer Connor moves to the rear of the vehicle and orders the driver to the ground. Just a seconds later the vehicle starts up and drives off and the officers open fire. Phillips, who fired four times, told the Alabama Bureau of Investigation that he feared for his life because he did not know who fired the first shot and because he worried that he would get run over by the car if it continued to roll forward.
Phillips went to the driver’s side of the car. He reached in and grabbed Massey, he told investigators. Phillips said that Massey shifted the car to “drive” and hit the gas pedal with his hand.
Garrick Hall, an eye-witness, stated in a court declaration,
Phillips had control of his body the entire time as the car was moving forward. At no time did I see Officer John Phillips fall to the ground or appear as if he was falling to the ground.
It was the officer who was reaching inside the car,” said Kenneth Glasgow, a spokesperson for the family. Massey “was on the passenger’s side even up to his death. He was still in his seat belt with both feet on the floor.”
The claim that officer Phillips was dragged is not substantiated by video evidence of the interaction. It’s quickly mentioned in the video. You can hear the driver express concerns about Massey’s actions but the officer has no answer for him other than he can’t allow anyone to run an officer down.
Officer Phillips had been on the force for two years before the shooting and had never been involved in an on duty shooting previously.
In 1983 Ralph Connor shot an unarmed 22 year old man in the back. He claimed he was in fear for his life as the suspect was reaching for a gun. The incident was ruled justified and decades later he was hired on as the chief of police for Eufaula, AL.
Connor retired from law enforcement in September 2015 but Phillips is still on active duty with the department.
The black Infiniti that Massey was riding in, was tipped off to the police for carrying a large shipment of Cannabis and was pulled over for making an improper lane change. However this cannot be trusted as the reason for the stop after officers misconstrued the truth surrounding the fatal shooting of Massey. It’s probably more likely that the officers took the tip to an extreme and targeted the vehicle with hopes of make a substantial drug bust; the reward of which would register favorably with their careers.
All of this could have been avoided if the government decided to call a truce on the war on drugs. The idea that prohibiting the ingestion of substances will keep society safer, as well as, promote a moral existence has led to prisons being filled with non violent offenders, families being ruined and violent exchanges with law enforcement. That may be an unintended consequence but at when compared, the moral foundation for locking people up over plants and chemicals is more immoral than allowing people to get high in the first place.
Prohibition breeds violence and corruption. Both of which are not acceptable in this moral society built upon the augmentation of individual behavior. Organized crime syndicates have long recognized the profit in providing people with contraband and have no problem using force to protect those profits. The greed aspect is so tangible that cops can be bribed, politicians can be funded; practically everything goes up for sale, including personal integrity, when the demand for items that have been prohibited by government is higher than the supply.
If you are ever in an interaction with law enforcement it’s important to record the incident. Maintaining an objective record can be the difference between an officer abusing you with no consequences or an officer having to answer for his actions. It’s also probable that the presence of a camera will prevent an officer from overstepping their bounds in the first place.
Camera footage has led to the indictment and incarceration of law enforcement officials on multiple occasions and the advances in technology only make it easier for anyone to whip out their cell phone and capture HD video of police interactions. Hopefully the next time you are pulled over for making an improper lane change, you will remember this fatal outcome and the battle that followed to acquire any form of transparency and choose to film the police.