Video of violent police chase played in court - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Kontji Anthony

Video of violent police chase played in court

For the first time Thursday, video of what happened on the night in 2004 when three West Memphis police officers shot and killed a suspect, whose car smashed into a house, was played in court.

Before the video was played, attorneys for Officers John Gardner and Troy Galtelli, charged with reckless homicide, went toe-to-toe with prosecutors to keep the video being played.  Defense attorneys claimed public airing of the video would taint the jury pool, while prosecutors argued the public owns the courts, and has a right to know what happens in them.

In the end, the judge allowed the video to be shown.

It begins with a traffic stop.  An officer asks the driver, Donald Ricker, to get out.  Ricker peels away with his passenger, Kelly Allen, in the front seat.

A ten minute chase ensues as the officers follow Ricker from West Memphis along I-40 East.  Cars swerve through traffic, as other officers join the pursuit and try to coordinate how to take the suspect down.

Ricker eventually crosses into Memphis, and turns down Danny Thomas.  When he turns on to Jackson, on the right side of the screen, you can see a police car hit the back of his car, causing him to spin out.  Police then box Ricker in, and leading to the moments that will be key in court.
With the car facing the wrong way, several shots can be heard fired by West Memphis Police into the front and side windows.  Ricker backs out, and you see another officer fire a series of shots into the passenger side of the car where Allen is sitting.

The white flashes from the bullets show clear as officers fire a total of 17 rounds into the car.

Ricker takes off, swerving, as he crosses a median, and his car does a somersault into a house on Manassas and Jackson.

An officer calls for rescue, as another officer gets down on bended knee right there on the scene.

Officers Gardner and Galtelli are still on duty.  Thursday, West Memphis' mayor and police chief were in the courtroom to show support for the officers.

The judge will review the proof and rule whether or not they get diversion or face a jury trial September 26th.

Another shocker in court Monday involved the third officer, who got diversion because he was the only officer to call for an end to the police chase.  Defense attorneys claim Sergeant Vance Plumhoff never actually told officers to stop the chase.

Officer Jimmy Evans was put on the stand to back up the claim.  Evans said Plumhoff told him to end the chase by getting in front of Ricker's car and boxing him in.  So, defense attorneys said, all the officers should get the same diversion program as Plumhoff.

Click here to send an email to Kontji Anthony.

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