Patterico's Pontifications


Montana Police Officer Kills Unarmed Man, Ruled Justifiable Homicide

Filed under: General — Dana @ 6:18 am

[guest post by Dana]

Last week, a Montana jury found that the killing of an unarmed man last year by Billings Police Officer Grant Morrison was non-criminal, justifiable homicide and that the Yellowstone County Attorney’s Office likely would not seek charges.

According to the report, here is what led up to the shooting:

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.

According to the autopsy, Richard Ramirez was found to have been 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.”

Colleagues claimed that Morrison recognized Ramirez as a suspect involved in a recent shooting incident involving drugs.

For his part, Morrison stated in testimony about the shooting:

“It’s the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make. 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.


He told the jury that he commanded all four people in the car to put their hands up and they all initially complied, but the man in the back right passenger seat, quickly identified by Morrison as Ramirez, dropped his left hand several times.

Morrison went on to say that he thought Ramirez might be reaching for a gun, especially since he’d been named as the suspect in the previous night’s shooting.

After telling Ramirez several times to keep his hands up, even warning that he’d shoot, Morrison said he reached into the car in a last-ditch effort to get Ramirez to put his hands up, with no luck.

“I was getting very scared,” Morrison said. “He pulled away from me, and he again did the exact same thing. He shoved his hand down to his side and started jiggling it up and down. I told him I was going to shoot him if he didn’t listen to me and put his hands up.”

This is not the first time Morrison has been involved in a fatal shooting. In 2013, Morrison shot and killed a suspect who did not obey the officer’s orders and reached for what turned out to be a replica BB gun.

Here is the dashcam video of the fatal shooting. Very graphic:

Officer Morrison breaks down after the shooting:


21 Responses to “Montana Police Officer Kills Unarmed Man, Ruled Justifiable Homicide”

  1. someone forgot to tell Ramirez that if you play stupid games, sooner or later you’re going to win stupid prizes.

    redc1c4 (589173)

  2. oh yeah… and for all you kids no one told?

    Speed Kills.

    redc1c4 (589173)

  3. I, personally, have undergone arrest facing guns drawn at the behest of the clinically insane.

    Not a moment for indecision or moral outrage, just deal with it in all humility.

    DNF (846224)

  4. i’ve had the muzzle of a police pistol stuck in left rear corner of my head, with the cop saying don’t move…

    i didn’t. in all fairness to the cop, he thought i was in the middle of a GTA in the back of a rundown apartment building in a crappy part of town, when, in actuality, i was a law abiding citizen repoing a car, with all the appropriate paperw*rk, ID, etc.

    once we sorted it all out, we all went our merry way, and the R/O was walking. 😉

    redc1c4 (cf3b04)

  5. Morrison shot and killed a suspect who did not obey the officer’s orders and reached for what turned out to be a replica BB gun.

    This is vague, though doesn’t really make a difference to the officer. Was it a replica in that it could shoot BBs but looked like a regular gun or that it was a total fake? Either way, insane to reach for any type of gun in that situation.

    seeRpea (3cc998)

  6. This story, and especially the video, show these aren’t easy decisions for the police officers.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  7. A hand in the pocket got a police officer in Flagstaff, AZ killed. They just released that body cam footage (though it cuts out after the gun is pulled).

    Dejectedhead (ec3741)

  8. Here is a link to another police shooting captured by a police videographer. Only seven or eight seconds. GRAPHIC Watch the video a couple times to see if you understand what’s going on.

    It looks like the suspect is complying with the instructions to put the rifle down with his left hand. What you can’t see from the front view but the officer coming around the corner can is that as the suspect is leaning forward to put the rifle on the ground with his left hand, he is reaching behind his back with his right hand to pull a pistol out of his waist band. Watch the video again and hear the officer coming around the corner yell “GUN” before firing and the suspect has a pistol in his hand as he falls.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  9. So, known druggie reaches for something in his pocket during a confrontational stop and not responding to the officer’s orders. Yep, I’d have shot him too. For the earlier case, if you are dumb enough to reach for a gun while getting arrested do deserve to get shot, doesn’t matter if it is a BB gun, squirt gun, or whatever.

    JNorth (5fe1bf)

  10. This Cop gets the Douglas Zerby award
    for murdering a defenseless person in cold blood.

    jurisram76 (7b1cdb)

  11. playing the devil’s advocate, the guy in Daleyrocks video might have been pulling the gun from his waistband to toss it, but never got the chance to complete the action.

    Not saying the officer was wrong. Dude should have kept his hands clear and said, “I have a gun in my pocket too.”

    His mistake.

    papertiger (c2d6da)

  12. “Dude should have kept his hands clear and said, “I have a gun in my pocket too.””

    papertiger – The dude did eventually did have his hands up, but he was lying on his back on the ground with a gun in his right hand.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  13. Yeah, but I don’t count that as intentional.

    No credit for the “hands up” by the dead guy.

    papertiger (c2d6da)

  14. Its just evolution at work. if you are stupid enough to go for your pants pocket repeatedly in front of a cop with drawn pistol, you need to be out of the gene pool.
    @jurisram6–what kind of drugs are you on? it must be top quality stuff.

    John Cunningham (9f3ba7)

  15. If a person who already distrusts law enforcement due to what they perceive as complete corruption and targeting of minorities watches the first video, and, without reading the story and/or testimony or facts of the case (because they can get in the way), one can see how it’s really not that difficult for a strong emotional reaction to what’s on the dashcam could easily lead to accusations of cold-blooded murder.

    Dana (8e74ce)

  16. I don’t know how that mentality can be counter-acted, because as we saw with Ferguson, even when “witnesses” are proven as liars and fabricators, the accusations of the officers doesn’t stop. Even when evidence to the contrary shows that not only the accusers’ premise is wrong, but also subsequent beliefs about the incident doesn’t matter, it makes me think why expend all the energy trying to convince people of what they don’t want to be convinced of in the first place? If facts and evidence are irrelevant to the argument, then what is left?

    Dana (8e74ce)

  17. Found on FB: A man with a clue….

    Austin Norman
    Central Piedmont Community College · 118 followers · December 27, 2014 at 8:03pm ·

    PLEASE SHARE WITH EVERYONE YOU KNOW. So today i was minding my own business while on my way to the gym. When i was about half way there i slowly rolled through a stop sign without stopping all the way. A few seconds later a cop pulls me over and when he comes to my window i give him my license. After he goes back to a car for a few minutes he comes back and gives me a ticket and TELLS me to have a good day . I dont know how i am still alive after coming in contact with a POLICE OFFICER, YES I SAID A P-O-L-I-C-E O-F-F-I-C-E-R. I have come to the conclusion that if you do NOT attack them they WILL NOT attack you. PLEASE SHARE THIS NEWS WITH EVERYONE SO NO MORE PEOPLE ARE KILLED BY THESE MONSTERS. Once again: If you do not attack them they will not attack


    IGotBupkis, "Si tacuisses, philosophus mansisses." (225d0d)

  18. Wait. According to the media, this guy is white… just like George Zimmerman (at least).

    And we also know, from the media, that cops only kill black people when they’re unarmed.

    So why’s he dead, again?

    I’m confused.

    IGotBupkis, "Si tacuisses, philosophus mansisses." (225d0d)

  19. This Cop gets the Douglas Zerby award
    for murdering a defenseless person in cold blood.
    jurisram76 (7b1cdb) — 1/15/2015 @ 11:35 am


    thebronze (e92320)

  20. Dana,

    I agree the video alone can look unjustified because the officer goes from calm to agitated in a moment. However, as you know, then you find out the officer recognized the suspect as someone involved in a shooting and it makes sense, as it clearly did to the coroner’s jury that exonerated the officer. The officer recognized the suspect — it’s the moment he began calling the suspect “Richard” — and was concerned that Richard might be carrying a gun. Richard’s continued refusal to raise his hands or keep from moving them to his side/waist heightened the officer’s concerns.

    It’s interesting to compare this to the tragic video in the Flagstaff shooting mentioned by Dejectedhead above, where the suspect had a gun and used it to kill the officer. You don’t need any context there to see how dangerous it is to be a police officer, or to see that police officers can’t know whether someone has a gun and they can die if they guess wrong.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  21. jurisram76 (7b1cdb) — 1/15/2015 @ 11:35 am

    The clinic called, and your brain is ready for pick-up.

    askeptic (efcf22)

Powered by WordPress.

Page loaded in: 2.4570 secs.