WATCH: Case Files Revealed in Deadly Washington County Deputy-Involved Shooting

We are finally getting to the bottom of a controversial deputy-involved shooting in Washington County, a shooting that has divided the county since it happened three years ago.

Some family members wonder if the entire incident could have been avoided, so they gave FOX10 News Investigates documents from the case file and a copy of the deputy’s body camera video to take a closer look at the case.

To watch the intense special report, click the video player above. A warning, video in the story is extremely graphic.

How the incident unfolded

On September 18, 2015, Scott Beech, 57, was killed by a Washington County Sheriff’s Deputy.

While investigators, and a grand jury, concluded the fatal shooting was justified, Beech’s family still questions why.

“It’s a terrible thing, and we want some answers. I want to know how this gets by,” said Beech’s brother, Barry Beech.

The week before the shooting, Beech’s wife asked for a divorce, so he was very upset and emotionally distraught.

The day of the incident, Beech went to buy seafood from a man selling it out of his truck.

The case file shows Beech cried, telling the man it would be his last meal, even asking the man to pray with him, but witness statements show Beech went on to say that he was “going to send a lot of people to hell.”

He went on to say he may kill his wife and her sister.

So, the seafood salesman called law enforcement, and deputies started looking for Beech to arrest him on the charge of making terrorist threats.

According to deputy statements, Washington County’s Chief Deputy, Ferrell Grimes, found Beech at Beech’s daughter’s house.

It just so happens, Grimes’ son is married to Beech’s daughter, so the men knew each other well.

Beech’s best friend and Washington County’s 911 Director, Burk Williams, was also there at the house.

The case file shows Williams and Chief Deputy Grimes managed to calm Beech down.

“Burk done an honorable thing, I appreciate everything he tried,” said Barry Beech.

Grimes even disarmed Beech, taking his derringer pistol out of his pocket and giving it to Williams, who put it back in Beech’s truck.

But instead of arresting Beech, Chief Deputy Grimes let him go, allowing 911 Director Williams to drive Beech home in Beech’s truck, which was loaded with weapons.

“Why they didn’t arrest him?” Barry Beech still wonders to this day. “When they had him unarmed. They could have arrested him right then, they chose not to, then turn right around and change their mind.”

As soon as Williams and Beech turned on to County Road 34, Chief Deputy Grimes radioed for deputies to pull them over, and that’s when the shooting happened.

Was the shooting avoidable?

The deputy who pulled the trigger, Micheal Turner, said the incident was “one of the hardest things that I have endured in my life.”

He didn’t want to speak on camera, but his body camera video reveals his raw emotions following the shooting. He was hyperventilating and praying, worried if he made the right call.

Baldwin County Chaplain Joe Aldrete said those life or death decisions weigh on law enforcement officers every day.

“You’re prepared for it, but you’re not prepared for it, if you will,” he explained. “It impacts them greatly… whenever anybody goes through some kind of critical incident, you begin to evaluate your life”

But some people wonder, if Chief Deputy Grimes had arrested Beech when he had the chance, would Turner have needed to make that tough choice?

FOX10 News Investigates turned to a third-party law enforcement professional for insight.

“I do think that the mistake led to the confrontation with deadly force, and obviously, if he had been handcuffed and taken to jail, the death would not have occurred,” explained Former Baldwin County District Attorney David Whetstone.

Whetstone believes Chief Deputy Grimes not only violated policies, but also put his deputies in harm’s way by letting Beech go.

“Anybody that would allow that to happen could have been charged with a criminal offense. That was certainly reckless endangerment of the officers,” explained Whetstone.

Burk Williams was also in danger.

He jumped out of the driver’s side of Beech’s truck just before bullets started flying.

When investigators interviewed him, Williams said the shooting “did not have to happen,” but that attitude ruffled some feathers.

Just four days after the shooting, Washington County Sheriff Richard Stringer called Williams while he was at work at the county’s 911 center.

To hear the call, click on the video at the top of the page.

During the call, Stringer told Williams, “if you keep runnin’ your mouth, then I’ll probably throw my badge down and come after you… that’s how pissed I am.”

Stringer declined an on camera interview with us, but said he doesn’t deny making those comments, because he and Williams don’t get along.

Stringer also felt Beech’s best friend, Williams, had no business getting involved in the situation.

Williams declined an interview with FOX10 News Investigates, as well.

Sheriff Stringer is also the chair of the Washington County 911 Board.

Just this Monday, according to sources, Stringer led the charge to terminate Williams at a special board meeting.

However, Stringer insisted the termination had nothing to do with the release of the phone call.

He did say Williams was “terminated for cause.”

For full story visit: http://www.fox10tv.com/story/38264532/warning-graphic-video-exclusive-case-files-revealed-in-deadly-washington-county-deputy-involved-shooting

FOX10 News | WALA

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Filming Cops
Filming Cops 5648 posts

Filming Cops was started in 2010 as a conglomerative blogging service documenting police abuse. The aim isn’t to demonize the natural concept of security provision as such, but to highlight specific cases of State-monopolized police brutality that are otherwise ignored by traditional media outlets.

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