Deputy, trooper cleared in North Carolina highway shooting
Posted August 25
RALEIGH, N.C. — A woman fatally shot by law enforcement officers along an interstate highway fired on them first after ignoring commands to drop her gun, videos released Friday by a prosecutor show. The deputy and state trooper have been cleared of wrongdoing.
"Under the circumstances ... their use of deadly force was both reasonable and warranted," Johnston County District Attorney Susan Doyle explained in a news release.
The dash-cam recordings reveal new details about the shooting on July 8, which happened after Medlin apparently veered onto the grass alongside Interstate 40 east of Raleigh. At dozen passing drivers called 911 to report her driving erratically at speeds around 100 mph, or seeing her wrecked SUV. Multiple callers said she had a gun.
The news release said a driver who stopped to help heard Medlin, a white woman, repeatedly yell "I wish I would have just killed myself!"
Deputy Taylor Davis and Trooper Jonathan Taylor arrived around 6:30 a.m. The videos start with Medlin face-first on the ground, yards away from the officers. They order her to show her hands. She gets up holding a firearm. They tell her to drop the weapon.
Before the exchange of gunfire, one of the officers can be heard saying: "I see the weapon! Don't draw it!"
Instead, she fires at them. Only then do Taylor and Davis both return fire, Doyle wrote.
Medlin was hospitalized with gunshot wounds to her right arm and head, and died three days later.
A state law enacted last year prohibits public release of police dashboard and body camera video without a judge's order. Doyle described a strong need to more fully explain the officers' actions, and Johnston County Superior Court Judge Thomas Lock agreed, writing on Wednesday that the release "is necessary to advance a compelling public interest."
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