Blue Lives Matter was notified that Deputy Josh Hopkins was fully cleared of wrongdoing in an officer-involved shooting, but he is still being charged with murder. The unbelievable story is in the press release we received below:
Jefferson, North Carolina - October 3, 2016 - Former star-personality of the National Geographic Channel television show Southern Justice, Deputy Sheriff Josh "Hoppy" Hopkins, 29, and a 2nd deputy, were fully cleared of any wrongdoing by the Ashe County Sheriff's Office and the State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) for their roles in the fatal shooting of Dallas Shatley, 62, on the night of July 8, 2015.
Now, in an unprecedented non-public hearing, the Ashe County District Attorney, Tom Horner, a friend of the deceased man, has effectively initiated the claim of a cover-up conspiracy and filed 2nd degree murder charges against Hopkins. Horner handed the case to DA Garry Frank, of Davidson County, who has stated that he is seeking life plus 20 years in prison for Deputy Hopkins.
"If this precedent is allowed to set, no officer will be safe from wrongful prosecution," said a police advocacy group supporting Hopkins. "All body and dash camera videos and forensic evidence from that night was thoroughly reviewed by the Sheriff's Office and the SBI before they cleared all deputies of any wrongdoing and put them back on patrol a month later. Why would they do that if the shooting wasn't justified? The suspect dragged Hopkins with his truck and had a loaded gun. The deputies had no choice."
Both the Sheriff's Office and the SBI continue to support the full innocence of Deputy Hopkins and the 2nd deputy that also fired in defense of Hopkins's life. The suspect dragged Hopkins up to 40 yards with a truck and then was about to run him over after Hopkins was flung to the ground. The deputies fired at the truck after seeing it kick into drive as Hopkins rose from the ground in front of it. The suspect was also in possession of a loaded high-powered rifle, forcing the deputies to neutralize two lethal threats in his control, the truck and the rifle.
“We’ve been called there many times over the past few years,” said Ashe County Sheriff James Williams. “When officers arrived on the scene, they encountered the individual belligerent. Apparently alcohol was involved. There was a weapon in the vehicle at some point. They were trying to get the weapon out of the vehicle and one of the officers wound up being dragged by the vehicle with the individual driving the vehicle backwards. There were shots fired as a result of that.”
Williams added that deputies have been dispatched to Dallas Shatley’s residence 89 times since 2010.