Officer-involved shooting report released by District Attorney General
By Bobby Lee McCulley | May 31, 2017 1:43 pm
An officer-involved shooting in White County almost two months ago that led to the death of a 33-year-old Clarksville man has been ruled by the district attorney general as justified.
On May 31, 2017, Bryant Dunaway, district attorney general for the 13th Judicial District, stated it was clear from the circumstances that Michael Zennie Dial II was “a dangerous and unstable subject who posed a serious and immediate risk of serious bodily injury or death to both law enforcement officers, as well as other citizens in the immediate area.”
On April 12, 2017, Dial led officers from four different agencies on a high-speed pursuit. According to the information released by Dunaway at that time, the Smithville Police Department responded to a reported shoplifting incident at Walmart, in Smithville. Smithville police officers reportedly came in contact with Dial when investigating the incident. Dial reportedly provided his Tennessee identification card, which revealed he had a revoked license.
Shortly after Dial’s interaction with Smithville police, he reportedly was observed driving a black Chevrolet truck pulling a fully loaded trailer. The license plate on the Chevrolet truck did not match the vehicle, which resulted in Smithville police attempting to conduct a traffic stop.
Dial reportedly failed to stop for the Smithville officers and proceeded to run through several red traffic lights and fled on Highway 70 toward White County. Once the pursuit crossed into White County, according to the report, Smithville police terminated the pursuit and notified White County Sheriff Department and Sparta Police Department about the black truck heading toward their jurisdiction.
Officers with the Tennessee Highway Patrol and White County Sheriff Department, according to the report, observed Dial’s truck traveling eastbound at a high rate of speed on Highway 70 toward Sparta. The officers attempted to initiate a traffic stop but were unsuccessful.
Dial reportedly proceeded to travel at a high rate of speed down Highway 70 and passed multiple vehicles on double yellow lines through heavy traffic and at times into oncoming traffic. The report states that several vehicles were forced to leave the roadway because of Dial’s alleged erratic driving.
Once Dial entered into the city limits of Sparta and approached Highway 111, he continued to drive east on the westbound side of the road into oncoming traffic. The report states that Dial led law enforcement onto Highway 111, northbound.
While on Highway 111, an officer pulled up beside Dial and reportedly shouted commands for Dial to stop and pull over. Reportedly, Dial ignored these commands and continued down Highway 111 at a high rate of speed.
After approximately one mile, Dial turned off of Highway 111 and proceeded southbound onto North Spring Street. Multiple officers from multiple agencies continued to pursue Dial with their lights and sirens activated. Multiple commands were given for Dial to stop, and he reportedly failed to comply.
Dial once again led the pursuit back onto Highway 111 northbound and continued to travel at a high rate of speed. While turning back onto Highway 111, Dial reportedly lost a tire on the fully loaded trailer that he was pulling.
As officers continued to pursue Dial northbound onto Highway 111, the report states officers attempted to box in Dial’s vehicle in an attempt to slow down the vehicle and bring it to a stop. However, Dial then reportedly began to ram into the side and rear of the police vehicles several times.
The report states at least two police vehicles were totaled and disabled during the incident. At one point during the pursuit, Dial’s truck left the roadway and traveled into the grass after a police unit attempted to stop Dial’s vehicle by ramming into the trailer. A Sparta police officer reportedly drove ahead of the pursuit and turned around toward Dial’s oncoming vehicle.
The report stated that Dial drove the truck down an embankment on the right side of Highway 111 and then began to drive back up the hill toward the highway and toward the Sparta police officer’s patrol car. At this point, the officer proceeded to discharge four rounds from his handgun at Dial’s truck as he drove toward the officer. A reserve deputy with White County Sheriff Department then discharged several rounds from his handgun at Dial’s truck.
Dial’s truck then proceeded to turn right and travel back down the grassy embankment and came to a rest at the vegetation line at the bottom of the hill.
Officers then reportedly quickly approached Dial’s truck and found that he had suffered an apparent gunshot wound to the head. White County Emergency Medical Service was requested, and a medical helicopter airlifted Dial to an area hospital. Dial later passed away from his injuries.
When asked to clarify about the gunshot wound, Dunaway stated, “The gunshot wound to Mr. Dial was from the officer’s bullet, and he did not have a firearm.”
The District Attorney General’s Office requested the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation to respond to the scene, where they processed and collected evidence, as well as questioned all known witnesses to the incident. An autopsy was performed on Dial, and it was determined from the toxicology report that Dial had methamphetamine, amphetamine, and Carboxy-THC in his system.
Based upon the evidence gathered, the testimonies of the witnesses, and the videos from the dash cams from the patrol cars, it was determined by the TBI that the officer-involved shooting was justified and necessary to stop the further threat of deadly violence being presented by Dial.
The District Attorney General’s Office has completed its investigation and is closing its file in this case and has requested the TBI to do the same.