Graphic footage has emerged showing the moment a South Carolina police officer began sobbing after he mistook a 70-year-old man’s walking stick for a gun and shot him last month.
York County Sheriff Deputy Terrance Knox asked a pickup truck with an expired license plate to pull over at around 7:30pm on 25 February, the LA Times reported.
The five-minute long clip filmed on the camera installed on the sheriff’s dashboard shows Bobby Dean Canipe reach to the floor of the car and pull out his long, thin, cane.
As he moves out of the car, it appears as if the object is pointing at the police officer.
Deputy Knox is then heard saying: “Sir! Sir! Whoa whoa! Eh eh!” and then reportedly fires around six shots at Mr Canipe.
The elderly man from North Carolina then uses the cane to steady himself as he gradually kneels to the floor in the video.
Rushing to help Mr Canipe after realising his error, Deputy Knox apologises and the 70-year-old replies that he will be OK.
A woman who comes out from the passenger seat and repeatedly says: “Please, Lord, help us,” as the deputy tends to Mr Canipe.
Soon, another deputy arrives and tells Knox: “You did what you had to do. Calm down, calm down,” the newspaper reported.
The department said the next day that Mr Canipe, who was wounded in his stomach, was expected to recover.
It is understood that Mr Canipe has since left hospital.
York County Sheriff Bruce Bryant defended his deputy’s actions during a press conference on Wednesday.
The department said it was releasing the video because of “demoralizing” public outcry over the shooting.
“This officer felt at the time he pulled the trigger that his life was in danger, and I stand behind this officer,” Bryant said.
“These officers must act to protect their own safety. Think about what they are seeing,” he added.
Mr Bryant continued that he will be campaigning for state and federal laws that require drivers to receive education on what to do when they are pulled over.
“You do not exit your vehicle and go meet the police officer,” Bryant said."You do no do that. There's no law against it — you can — but the police officer is going to give you some strict orders."
State authorities are currently investigating the incident.
Deputy Knox remained on paid administrative leave pending the conclusion of the investigation.
A local prosecutor will decide whether to charge Knox with “objectively unreasonable use of force.”