A Montana officer claimed he was in fear for his life when he opened fire inside a car of four people that he had pulled over last year, killing an unarmed man who had been sitting in the back seat.
Billings police officer Grant Morrison said Richard Ramirez not only failed to raise his hands, but also ‘appeared to reach’ for something.
A dashcam video released yesterday, shows Morrison firing multiple shots into the car, yet the ‘appeared to reach’ movements that Morrison reported as his reason for shooting Ramirez seem very questionable. Nevertheless, a coroner’s jury ruled the shooting a “noncriminal, justifiable homicide.”
The seven-person jury deliberated for a little more than an hour to conclude the two-day inquest, which featured testimony from police officers, investigators, experts, witnesses and Morrison himself before concluding that Morrison’s actions were justified.
With Richard Ramirez’s loved ones filling two rows on one side of the courtroom at the Yellowstone County Courthouse and Morrison’s family on the other, Morrison testified that he was scared for his life when he fatally shot Ramirez, who had been ‘named as the suspect’ in a robbery and shooting the night before he was killed.
“I shot him. … I thought he was going to kill me,” Morrison said. The video clearly show’s the change in the officers tone when Richard states his name the first time he is asked to do so. Officer Morrison escalates the situation from there, within 12 second Officer Morrison was shooting his pistol into the car and Richard Ramirez.
The verdict is a recommendation to the Yellowstone County Attorney’s Office, which has final say on whether to pursue charges in the case. County Attorney Scott Twito said after the inquest that it is unlikely his office will seek charges.
The Ramirez family has publicly criticized the shooting as unjust. St. John said Thursday no formal complaints have been made against Morrison or the department.
As is standard procedure in officer-involved shootings, Morrison is on paid administrative leave.
Grant Morrison, 30. who has been with the police department for five years. Was is the same officer who shot and killed a man in February 2013.
Morrison shot and killed 32-year-old Jason James Shaw on Feb. 11, 2013, during a confrontation at a car outside a suspected drug house. A coroner’s inquest Aug. 14, 2013, ruled the shooting justifiable. Shaw, who was seated in a car, had refused Morrison’s commands and reached for a BB gun in his pocket after being stunned with a stun gun, according to testimony at the inquest.