Cop arrives at traffic accident, shoots Air Force airman, chief calls it ‘appropriate force’
An Alabama police chief has determined that one of his officers used “appropriate force,” when the cop arrived at the scene of a traffic accident and immediately shot an apparently unarmed Air Force airman.
The airman, 20-year-old Michael Davidson, was shot in the chest and nearly bled out before receiving medical aid, according to the Raw Story.
Davidson was driving to Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in Goldsboro, North Carolina. He may have been driving erratically, according to the Ledger-Enquirer.
After clipping another vehicle, he pulled over to exchange insurance information with the other driver.
Eventually, Officer Phillip Hancock arrived on scene. Accounts differ as to what happened next.
Davidson’s father claimed that Hancock shot his son almost immediately.
“They couldn’t have been there three or four seconds when I was shot,” said Davidson, according to his father’s account.
Police Chief John McEachern, on the other hand, said that Hancock did not not fire until coming to the erroneous conclusion that Davidson was a threat.
Hancock ordered Davidson to put his hands on his head, and then fired, according to McEachern.
“It was at this point that the officer perceived what he believed to be a threat,” McEachern said. “Officer Hancock then pulled his service weapon and fired two shots at the suspect.”
One shot hit Davidson, severely injuring his stomach and colon. He may have permanent damage, and it is likely that he will be physically unable to serve in the Air Force.
The accounts agree that Davidson was unarmed when shot. He may have been holding his wallet, however. It’s not clear whether Hancock mistook the wallet for a weapon.
Davidson had synthetic marijuana in his car, according to investigators. No evidence has emerged yet to suggest that Davidson was under the influence at the time, however.
The Alabama Bureau of Investigation is looking into the matter. Hancock is on leave pending the results of the investigation.