Montana police officer breaks down after fatally shooting unarmed man

Dashcam footage captures cop sobbing on hood of cruiser

A dashcam video showing a Montana police officer breaking into tears after fatally shooting an unarmed man who was high on methamphetamine was released this week after it was reviewed by a jury.

In the footage, Billings Police Officer Grant Morrison can be seen sobbing on the hood of a police cruiser after shooting 38-year-old Richard Ramirez three times during a traffic stop.

“I thought he was going to pull a gun on me," Morrison can be heard telling a fellow officer.

“Maybe he was, maybe he was,” the other officer replied, attempting to console Morrison. “Jesus, Grant. You survived.”

Morrison, who had pulled over the car with Ramirez and three other passengers inside around 11 p.m. on April 14, ordered them to put their hands up. But Ramirez, who was seated in the back, would not comply and reached for his waistband, police say.

"What are you doing? Why are you moving your hands so much?" Morrison can be heard saying earlier in dashcam footage taken just before the shooting. "Get your hands up. I will shoot you. I will shoot you. Hands up!"

Morrison, a five-year veteran of the force, then fired into the car. The actions of Ramirez could not be seen in the video.

An autopsy later showed Ramirez was high on methamphetamine and "had enough in his system at the time that it may have been lethal to someone not accustomed to the drug," a forensic pathologist testified. Fellow officers told jurors that Morrison recognized Ramirez as a suspect in a recent drug-involved shooting.

Last week, a seven-person coroner's jury concluded that the shooting was justified. No criminal charges are expected to be filed, Yellowstone County Attorney Scott Twito said.

"The videos speak for themselves," Twito told the Associated Press after the jury's verdict.

During his testimony, Morrison said, "It’s the hardest decision I've ever had to make," according to the Billings Gazette. "I wish I didn't have to make it. I wish I just knew he didn't have a gun, but I couldn't take the risk."

The Billings case comes after a pair of grand jury decisions not to indict police officers in the fatal killings of unarmed men in Ferguson, Mo., and New York City sparked protests nationwide.

Ramirez's mother, Betty Ramirez, told the paper that her family disagrees with the jury's decision.

"Richard Ramirez was my son," she said. "Officer Morrison is the one that killed him. He was just a good person, and they didn't have to do that to him."

Morrison was placed on paid administrative leave immediately after the shooting and has since been assigned to a task force investigating prescription drug crimes.

According to the AP, Morrison shot and killed another man during a traffic stop after the man "reached for something that was later determined to be a BB gun." He was cleared of any wrongdoing in that case.