A new video taken from a Billings police officer’ patrol car has captured Officer Grant Morrison break down in tears as he walks with a colleague back to his patrol car, wobble and then fall over off-screen. The poignant scene took place after Morrison fatally shot a suspect, Richard Ramirez.
Morrison shot Ramirez — who was a passenger in the back seat of a car, and later was found to be unarmed — three times on April 14, 2014, during a traffic stop in an alley off of Fifth Avenue South and State Avenue in Billings.
On Wednesday, January 7, a coroner’s jury ruled that the shooting of Richard Ramirez was a noncriminal, justifiable homicide, The Billings Gazette reports. A seven-person jury deliberated for just over an hour, hearing testimonies from police officers, investigators, experts, witnesses and Morrison himself, before concluding that the officer’s actions were justified. Morrison said during the testimony:
It’s the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make. 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… I shot him… I thought he was going to kill me.
During his testimony, Morrison said that he was scared for his life when he shot Ramirez, who had been named as the suspect in a robbery and shooting which took place the night before he was killed.
Here is the full episode, captured from Billings Police Officer Brad Ross’ patrol car:
Here is Morrison’s reaction following the shooting:
The verdict is a recommendation to the Yellowstone County Attorney’s Office, which has final say on whether to file charges in the case. County Attorney Scott Twito said that it is unlikely his office will seek charges.
Morrison said that he had been searching for Ramirez in connection with the West End shooting on April 13 and didn’t know that he was in the car when he pulled it over the next day on the South Side. However, he immediately noticed the passenger in the rear right of the car moving and pushing against the door, as if he was going to get out.
The officer told the jury that he commanded all four people in the car to put their hands up and they all complied at first, but the man in the rear right passenger seat, quickly identified by Morrison as Ramirez, dropped his left hand several times.
After telling Ramirez multiple times to keep his hands up, and warning that he’d shoot, Morrison said he reached into the car in a final effort to get Ramirez to put his hands up, with no luck. Morrison said:
I was getting very scared. He pulled away from me, and he again did the exact same thing. He shoved his hand down to his side and started jiggling it up and down. I told him I was going to shoot him if he didn’t listen to me and put his hands up.
Morrison said that seeing the person moving in the back of the car warranted approaching before other police officers arrived and that the time it takes to holster his already-drawn gun and draw the Taser, or move to the back of the car, could have meant the difference in life or death.
Morrison said he didn’t have a choice because he believed Ramirez was reaching for a gun and added that he would’ve acted differently had he known Ramirez was unarmed.
1. Billings Police Officer Grant Morrison reacts after fatally shooting Richard Ramirez.
2. A coroner’s jury ruled that the shooting of Richard Ramirez was a noncriminal, justifiable homicide.
Source: The Billings Gazette.
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