WARNING: The dash cam footage may be disturbing to viewers
OPELIKA, AL (WTVM) - An appeals court has analyzed the evidence in a lawsuit filed against the City of Opelika in connection to a 2014 officer-involved shooting and determined there was no wrongdoing by the officer.
On Thursday, an attorney released dashcam video showing the shooting.
On March 6, 2014, Michael Davidson was shot by Opelika police officer Phillip Hancock after he exited his vehicle along Interstate 85. Davidson was holding his black wallet, which the officer believed was a gun.
The officer ordered Hancock to show his hands twice. He first fired a shot into the ground, then shot Hancock, who fell backward and then again clutched the wallet in his hands, again pointing at the officer. Hancock ordered him to show his hands for the third time.
Davidson sued Hancock, Opelika Police Chief John McEachern, and the City of Opelika, saying they violated his civil rights and used excessive force. All three defendants denied any wrongdoing.
Two federal courts analyzed the case, including the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama and the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals. The judges unanimously determined after a review of the evidence, which included dash cam video, that there was no wrongdoing on the part of any of the defendants.
"With all facts, as supported by video evidence, viewed in a light favorable to Davidson, Hancock's use of force was objectively reasonable," the appeals court wrote. The court added that the officer made a "disastrous mistake" but that "the position of Davidson's wallet and hands the moment before the shooting mean that mistake did not violate Davidson's constitutional rights."
The court of appeals determined that because of "the positions of Davidson's wallet and hands the moment before the shooting," his constitutional rights weren't violated.
"Michael is doing physically well. He still has some issues emotionally from being shot. I do not think that is a shock to anyone. We are in the process of determining if we will file an appeal with the United States Supreme Court," said Davison's attorney, Brian Mosholder.
Click here to view the claim.