The Alabama Bureau of Investigation has completed a five-month probe into the March 6 police shooting of Airman Michael D. Davidson on Interstate 85 but neither the report nor dashboard video will be released, Opelika, Ala., Police Chief John H. McEachern III said in a statement released late Tuesday.
Davidson, 20, was shot in his stomach by Officer Phillip Hancock shortly after he pulled off I-85 near mile marker 63 after the mirror on the silver GMC Envoy the Beckville, Texas, airman was driving clipped an 18-wheeler.
Shortly after the shooting, McEachern said the video recorded from the police vehicle’s dashboard camera would be released at the end of the investigation. The chief was directed by the city’s attorneys not to release the report.
“The ABI report was delivered to the Opelika Police Department August 1st, 2014 and received by the Chief of Police August 4th,” the release stated. “The city’s attorneys have advised it is privileged pursuant to state law. Based on that and the potential impact the release of the ABI report and video could have on litigation, I have been instructed not to release either.”
Davidson was headed to his next assignment at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in Goldsboro, N.C., when he was shot. He was treated for serious wounds at East Alabama Medical Center in Opelika.
Hancock, a seven-year veteran with no previous shootings at the department, responded to the interstate to check on a report of an erratic driver when he stopped near the airman’s vehicle. The chief has said the officer perceived a threat from Davidson at the scene and suggested the officer used appropriate force when he gave verbal commands to put his hands over his head before firing two shots at the airman. One shot struck Davidson.
The airman’s father has said his son was holding up his wallet when the shots were fired.
While the chief supported the officer, McEachern never stated what caused the officer to fire on Davidson.
Inside the airman’s vehicle, police also found packages of what appeared to be “spice” or synthetic marijuana and a partially rolled cigarette.
Hancock was placed on administrative leave while the investigation was under way. His current status wasn't noted in the release.