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Opelika, Ala. Police Department defends officer who shot young Airman

Opelika, Ala. Police Department defends officer who shot young Airman
Opelika, Ala. Police Department defends officer who shot young AirmanGetty Images/released to Examiner

On the face of it, last week’s news that a 20-year-old Airman was shot, and seriously wounded, by a city police officer in Alabama, seemed extreme. But in a statement released by the Opelika Police Department, the department deemed the shooting justifiable.

It was Thursday, March 6, when the incident happened; Airman Michael Darrett Davidson was driving from his home in Texas to his airbase at Seymour-Johnson in Goldsboro, North Carolina.

Davidson was on Interstate 85, in the vicinity of Opelika, when he changed from the passing lane into the right lane, clipping the mirror of a big-rig truck.

From his hospital bed, Davidson’s story indicates he immediately pulled to the side of the freeway following the incident. He got out of his GMC Envoy, wallet in hand, to check on the driver of the semi. In the midst of "an undetermined commotion" by law-enforcement he was shot in the abdomen and required emergency surgery.

Opelika’s Police Chief John McEachern, speaking on behalf of the department, relays the story a bit differently, stating Davidson had been driving erratically when he sideswiped the truck.

At the scene, veteran officer Phillip Hancock reportedly gave verbal commands to the Airman when he arrived and subsequently believed that Davidson posed a threat; it was then that he opened fire.

An investigation found synthetic marijuana, also known as bath salts and spice, inside the Airman’s car.

Officer Hancock is now on paid administrative leave for an undisclosed time period.

Dashboard video cam footage has not been released nor has there been any mention that the truck driver had alerted law-enforcement about a reckless driver on the Interstate.

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