The York County Sheriff's office has released a dashcam video that shows a deputy firing at a disabled septuagenarian following a traffic stop. The victim was identified as 70-year-old Bobby Canipe. Deputy Terrance Knox, responsible for the shooting has been since then placed on administrative leave as the State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) investigates and pieces together the evidence, reports ABC.
The incident happened on the evening of February 25, 7:30 pm at Highway 321 and Motseller Street, north of the town of Clover, South Carolina. Deputy Terrance Knox had asked the driver of the vehicle, a pickup truck to pull over since it borne a license plate that had expired six weeks earlier. Canipe was asked to exit the vehicle to which he complied. Things went wrong when the disabled Bobby Canipe attempted to reach his cane placed in the truck bed after getting out of the vehicle. As Canipe attempts to do that, the deputy cries aloud three times asking him to not retrieve the object. Seconds later, half a dozen shots were fired and Terrance yells "Whoa!" several times. By the time the shots end, you can hear Canipe saying in agony, "It's a walking stick".
All this was in the meantime, being recorded on the Deputy's dashcam.
The move of retrieving the cane was perceived to be of threatening nature by Terrance because he assumed Bobby was reaching out for a weapon, a long barrel rifle or a shotgun. After the shots, the Deputy quickly realizes that Canipe had no weapons in his possession and rushes to his aid. He realizes that Bobby was hit once and begins to sob when another officer arrives, minutes later. "I promise to God I thought it was a shotgun," Knox said in tears. He immediately offered him aid and called for medical aid.
Bobby Canipe was shot near the abdomen and was rushed to the hospital where he underwent treatment and is currently recovering and is stable.
York Country Sheriff Bruce Bryant has in a press conference justified the action by Deputy Terrance citing the circumstances of the incident. The response was deemed "an appropriate response to what he reasonably believed to be an imminent threat on his life." He also clarified that South Carolina police officers are allowed to use deadly force if they think their lives are in imminent danger.
The Sheriff's office was however receiving hate mails, angry phone calls and negative publicity on various social media networks following the release of information pertaining to the incident. "People have been calling using the most vile, vulgar and demoralizing language and spewing venom at the officer involved. The people taking the brunt of those horrible calls are secretaries, not the sheriff", said Sheriff's Office attorney Kristie Jordan.
The subsequent release of the dashcam video is in order to quell any doubts cast on Deputy Terrance Knox's judgment on the day.
Do you think the Deputy was justified in using deadly force in this particular situation?