Billings, MT — A jury at a coroners inquest has determined Wednesday afternoon that a Montano police officer, who shot and killing an unarmed man during a traffic stop was justified.
Billings Police Officer Grant Morrison testified to the jury that he feared for his life during a traffic stop where he fired the 3 shots which killed 38-year-old Richard Ramirez.
Morrison testified that he saw Ramirez “reach for his waistband” during the 30 second encounter last April.
“I knew in that moment, which later was determined to be untrue, but I knew in that moment that he was reaching for a gun,” Morrison said. “I couldn’t take that risk. … I wanted to see my son grow up.”
Because of Marrison’s decision to pull the trigger, Ramirez will not have that opportunity.
No one is claiming that Ramirez is an angel, but did he deserve to die right then and there?
According to the AP, all but three of the 15 people called to testify during the two-day inquest were from law enforcement. Several police officers spoke at length about their prior dealings with Ramirez and others in his family.
“I don’t care what things my brother did in the past,” Renee Ramirez said criticizing the inquest as one-sided. “What does that have to do with shooting my brother?”
Police video showed Morrison repeatedly ordering Ramirez and other occupants of the vehicle to raise their hands and it appears that everyone is complying.
Ramirez’s actions were largely obscured in the video but Morrison said Ramirez dropped his left hand to his side — out of the officer’s view — and “started to jiggle it up and down” just before he was shot.
If Morrison was so worried about “watching his son grow up,” why was it that he didn’t sit in his patrol car until the backup, which was obviously close by, arrived?
If these suspects were so dangerous, getting out by yourself, is a poor choice.
The fact of the matter is that Ramirez could be alive today if better decisions would have been made.
This is not the first time Morrison has killed a person while on duty either, he shot and killed another man in 2013. The man he killed in 2013, Jason Shaw, had a young son, who he described as a “beautiful baby blue-eyed boy.”
Unfortunately Shaw will not get to enjoy “watching his son grow up.”
He was cleared of any wrongdoing in that case as well.