Baltimore County police officer who shot an unarmed male driver, multiple times, during a November traffic stop on Interstate 83, will not face criminal charges
Officer Page, a 21-year veteran is back on active duty, the county police dept announced Thursday, while releasing body-worn camera footage as well as 911 and police radio recordings
Police tracked down 48-year-old Eric Sopp, after receiving a call from his mum on Nov. 26 that her son had threatened to kill himself and may have been driving while intoxicated
Police body camera footage showed the officer telling Sopp not to get out the car
The cop now identified as officer Page then shoots the driver eight times and kills him after he insisted he would and actually got out of his car despite being told to stay in the vehicle
Although criminal charges will not be filed against the officer, Sopp’s family said ‘shooting an unarmed man eight times’ was ‘unnecessary’ and have been exploring their legal options
Catherine Sopp through her lawyer said there was no reason for the officer to fatally shoot her son – ‘I never imagined that when I called 911 to protect my son and others from him driving drunk, it would cost him his life’
Captured on body cam: The police officer approached the victim, Eric Sopp’s car with his gun drawn, and asked him to stay in the vehicle. Sopp refused to comply
Body cam footage has been released showing the moment a police officer shot an unarmed driver eight times and killed him.
Driver Eric Sopp was gunned down after refusing to stay in his vehicle and continued to get out despite being repeatedly told to remain inside.
The cop, identified as Officer Page, could be heard yelling ‘don’t get out of the car’ before opening fire on the 48-year-old in the harrowing police footage.
Criminal charges will not be filed against the officer in Maryland who fatally shot Sopp, who had been accused of threatening to hurt himself and others.
Baltimore County police announced the prosecutors’ decision and released body camera video and 911 audio on Thursday in the shooting.
The victim’s mother, Catherine Sopp, called police last November 26 to report that her son had threatened to kill himself and may be driving while intoxicated.
In the body camera footage released by the department, an officer can be seen telling Sopp to put his Toyota Camry in park at the side of Interstate 83 and place his hands on the dashboard.
Excessive force?: Body cam captures Baltimore police officer fatally opening fire. The footage showed the officer shooting driver Eric Sopp after he got out of his vehicle despite being told to remain inside
The victim’s family has decried the killing of Eric Sopp [photo], stating that ‘shooting an unarmed man eight times’ an ‘unnecessary use of force by a police officer’
Baltimore County police said prosecutors’ were not filing charges and released body camera video and 911 audio of the shooting which offers a narrative of both victim and shooter’s actions at the time
No weapon was recovered from Sopp’s body after the shooting.
Police spokeswoman Sgt. Vickie Wareheim declined to say whether a weapon was found in the vehicle or at the scene.
Sopp had been drinking for a few days and his mother wanted him found before he hurt himself or others.
An attorney for Sopp’s family said they are exploring their legal options. In a counter, Chelsea Crawford, representing Sopp’s family, said that the footage released Thursday shows Page used an “excess, lethal amount of force that was completely unnecessary.”
“He knew Mr. Sopp didn’t have a weapon on him,” said Crawford, pointing to the fact a dispatcher told investigating officers prior to the traffic stop that there was “no indication” Sopp had the ice pick in the vehicle with him.
“The body camera footage shows that the officer who shot Mr. Sopp had his gun drawn and finger on the trigger when he approached Mr. Sopp’s Car,” Crawford wrote in a statement. “When the unarmed Mr. Sopp, with nothing in his hands, got out of the car after the officer told him not to, the officer shot him eight times.”
The victim’s mother Catherine Sopp released a statement through an attorney Thursday, saying there was no reason for the officer to fatally shoot her son.
‘I never imagined that when I called 911 to protect my son and others from him driving drunk, it would cost him his life,’ the grieving mother said.
In her 911 call, Catherine Sopp told the operator her son hes ‘picked up a log and was looking for a knife’ and that he was also ‘putting an ice pick to his neck’.
Sopp’s family also called the ‘shooting an unarmed man eight times’ an ‘unnecessary use of force by a police officer’.
Shortly after the shooting Catherine Sopp revealed that her son had a history of depression and anxiety and she’d called police to file a missing persons report after he broke several phones and threatened to hurt himself with an ice pick before leaving the residence in a vehicle.
In a statement, Baltimore County Police Chief Melissa Hyatt said: ‘The men and women in our Police Department encounter uncertain situations and make split-second decisions every day.
‘Releasing video of someone losing his life is never taken lightly. The release of today’s video is in alignment with our recently announced BWC Release Policy and the Maryland Public Information Act. The internal investigation into this incident is ongoing.’