AFTERSHOCK: Dash-Cam Captures Emotional Trauma of Officer-Involved Shooting

So many of those who viscerally hate law enforcement try to “other” them, portraying them as unfeeling, uncaring, and robotic in nature. Others—including the Revolutionary Communists driving the “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” fiction—go even further, and attempt to create wartime propaganda imagery that re-imagines police officers as a violent, bloodthirsty, sub-human species.

The video above shows police officers for what they really are: normal men and women sometimes thrust into extraordinary situations where life or death rides on a split-second judgement calls.

Just two days ago we showed you the video of three teens in Texas that refused to comply with a police officer’s commands. That officer came within a hair’s breadth of opening fire on the closest teen before the 17-year-old finally complied with his commands.

In an eerily similar and all-too-common situation that occurring in April of 2014, suspect Richard Ramirez—who was later determined to be high on meth—refused to listen to commands when pulled over for a traffic violation by Billings, Montana officer Grant Morrison.

Ramirez moved his hands towards waistband while refusing commands, and Morrison thought he was going for a gun. Morrison shot and killed Ramirez. It was only later that it was determined that Ramirez was unarmed.

The footage above comes from the dash camera of a patrol car driven by Billings Police officer Brad Ross, who was one of many officers who responded to the “shots fired” call. The footage was just released to the public, after a grand jury declined to indict Morrison for the shooting. The video is part of the evidence reviewed by the grand jury.

It’s painful to watch.

A clearly-traumatized Morrison is brought over to Ross’s car, where the emotional weight of the shooting came crashing down upon him, and he physically collapses as a result. A fellow officer attempts console Morrison.

“Jesus, Brad. You survived. You survived.”

Killing another human being takes a huge emotional toll on most people. It starts almost immediately after the event when the hormonal dump of the autonomic nervous system responsible for your “fight or flight” response starts to ebb. That is what this video captures (in part).

How people deal with the trauma in the longer term is typically a result of how they process the event psychologically.

There are a number of people who can get through such trauma through a combination of prior training and post-event counseling with a minimum amount of psychological disruption. Other people with nearly identical training and counseling can become impaired for a time, but can learn to cope with the event and move on.

After this incident, Officer Morrison was able to return to duty.*

Some people, sadly, are shattered.

Remember what you’ve seen here, the next time some clueless Internet commando says something along the lines of, “Well, I woulda done _____, and I wouldn’t have felt anything but recoil, because they deserved it.”

That’s not how it works.


* The Ramirez shooting was Officer’ Morrison’s second shooting in two years. In 2013 he shot and killed another meth-head, Jason James Shaw, after Shaw refused commands from Morrison and another officer. In that incident, Morrison’s taser failed to subdue Shaw, and Shaw appeared to go for a weapon in his pocket. A Walther P99 BB gun replica was recovered. The amount of meth in Shaw’s system at the time of his shooting was potentially lethal.

Apr 13, 2021 5:30 PM ET