Man fleeing traffic stop chases after being hit by officer’s SUV – NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth
A biker who tried to outrun a traffic stop in Lake Worth has filed a lawsuit claiming the officer used excessive force after he was struck and injured while trying to escape on foot. The department, meanwhile, said the collision was an accident and the officer was not trying to hit the driver.
According to a lawsuit (to read at the bottom of this page) filed on behalf of motorcyclist Dustin Bates, Lake Worth Officer Jonathan Granado pulled up behind him as he was stopped at the intersection of Lake Worth Boulevard and Boat Club Road on November 23, 2020.
The officer initially reported that the motorcycle’s license plate was difficult to read, but managed to get it through and learned that the number on the plate did not match the bike.
After the light turns green, dashcam video (see below) shows the officer turning on his headlights to try and stop the biker, but instead of stopping the biker, he speeds up and cuts off traffic in an attempt to get away.
Bates drove the officer on Interstate Loop 820 and exited at the next exit, Marine Creek Parkway. It was there that he apparently lost control of the motorcycle and crashed into the grassy median strip separating the ramp from the freeway.
Bates, who according to his trial was not injured in this crash, got up and attempted to flee on foot, crossing the ramp and entering the grassy median to the right of the ramp.
Warning: Dashcam video shows a man running from police run over by an officer. Watch with caution. A biker who tried to outrun a traffic stop in Lake Worth is suing the pursuing officer after he was knocked down and injured while fleeing on foot, claiming the officer used excessive force.
Dashcam video (above) obtained from the Lake Worth Police Department recorded the entire chase and showed the officer exiting the freeway in his patrol SUV. In the video, Bates can be seen running down the road as the officer approaches.
The officer then turns the SUV off the paved surface and into the path of the running man. Dashcam video then shows the center of the officer’s SUV hitting the man in the back, knocking him to the ground.
In the moments after the collision, an officer can be heard yelling at Bates to put his arms behind his back or risk getting shot.
According to the lawsuit, the collision fractured Bates’ spine, three ribs and his right leg in two places. Bates’ attorney said he had to undergo surgery “and was permanently scarred as a result of Officer Granado’s unnecessary use of lethal force.”
Lake Worth Police Chief JT Manoushagian held a press conference on Monday afternoon to address the incident, saying his heart sank upon seeing the video and that he wanted different rulings to have been made. were taken that day.
“What I saw on the video is inconsistent with the actions we expect our officers to take,” Manoushagian said. “We injured someone and it was due to the officer’s lack of judgment. I was disappointed. I was sad.”
Manoushagian said the officer lost sight of the motorcycle before leaving Marine Creek Parkway and broke off pursuit when he saw the dust cloud that appeared to be the crashed motorcyclist.
“As he followed Mr. Bates with his eyes, he started to veer off the roadway,” Manoushagian said. “As many people do, where your eyes go, your car’s steering wheel follows.”
Bates’ attorney said the officer’s dash cam and body-worn camera recorded him punching his client while driving at around 45 mph. The suit further alleges that the officer did not press the brakes until after he rammed the man.
Manoushagian also said the officer was traveling at around 45 mph at the time of impact, but said the officer was applying his brakes the entire time he was on the grass. The chief said the officer was going about 95 mph when he hit the exit ramp and had slowed to 74 mph by the time he left the roadway and hit the grass. Manoushagian said the officer kept applying the brakes, but because he was wet he began to slip and was still slipping when he hit Bates from behind.
Bates’ attorney said his client “fleed on foot but was unarmed or posed no threat to any officer or person at the time” and that Granado violated his client’s constitutional rights under the fourth amendment to the United States Constitution to be free from excess deadly force and that the use of force “was objectively unreasonable in the circumstances and inflicted unnecessary injury, pain, suffering, and permanent physical disfigurement to Mr. Bates”.
Bates is suing the officer directly, not the department. He has requested a jury trial and seeks unspecified punitive damages.
The lawsuit was filed Monday in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas.
INCIDENT INVESTIGATED, OFFICER RESIGNS
Manoushagian said he visited Bates after the accident to reassure him that the incident would be properly investigated, but was unconscious at the time.
Grand Prairie Police conducted a criminal investigation into the incident and the findings were handed over to a Tarrant County Grand Jury who on March 4, 2021 declined to press charges in the matter.
Manoushagian said Lake Worth police also conducted an internal investigation and confirmed there were two violations of department policy regarding how the vehicle should be operated without injuring anyone else. The chief said the officer did not violate any policy regarding a pursuit.
The chief said the officer was sanctioned with an 80-hour suspension, equivalent to two weeks on the job, and assigned to administrative duties until the criminal investigation was not charged by the grand jury . The officer also received additional training on the operation of emergency vehicles and provided a debrief on his lessons learned.
Granado, Manoushagian said, resigned in December 2021. He had returned to office after the grand jury took no action in the case.
Manoushagian said he “absolutely considered” firing the officer, but after considering all the circumstances he felt the action taken was appropriate.
“We believe it is important to use progressive discipline and procedural justice to deliver and administer justice to our officers. We must take into account that everyone makes mistakes in their job,” Manoushagian said. “Considering this is a young officer very early in his career…we would never have seasoned, tenured officers who would have had the opportunity to learn from their mistakes if we had fired them all after their first So after a review of the circumstances, knowing it was an accident, the officer did not intentionally mean to hit Mr. Bates with his car, he accepted responsibility, he was sanctioned I think it was the right decision under the circumstances.
RIDER HAD A PROBATIONARY WARRANT, DRUGS
On Friday afternoon, Manoushagian said that although the plate did not match the motorcycle Bates was riding, it had not been stolen.
He said, however, that when Bates was arrested, officers learned he had a parole warrant and was in possession of drugs.
“He had a long criminal history,” Manoushagian said. “He committed a felony by fleeing on a motorcycle. He was also committing a felony by being in possession of half an ounce of methamphetamine and on top of all that he had a parole warrant.”
Manoushagian said he did not know why Bates’ parole was revoked.
CHIEF RESPONDS TO COMMENTS MADE BY SECOND OFFICER
According to the lawsuit, when Bates told another officer at the scene that he had been hit by the officer’s SUV, the officer, identified as James O’Bannon, allegedly said, “He probably wouldn’t have didn’t have to race. A lot of people think we “I can’t chase motorcycles. It’s wrong. We can and we will. Welcome to Lake Worth.”
The lawsuit alleges O’Bannon went on to say, “That’s what happens when you escape the law. If you had just stopped, that would have been fine” and “I’m not going to sugarcoat that for you, you’re running away from us, that’s what happens.”
Manoushagian said Monday afternoon that the statements made by O’Bannon, quoted above, do not reflect the attitudes and principles of the department and that he received “a very harsh conversation with” regarding the statement.
“The officer’s quote on [the] scene does not reflect the attitudes and principles of our ministry. Specifically, the insinuation of “Welcome to Lake Worth”. We are a police department that takes tremendous pride in providing excellent service and protection to the public and the people we arrest,” Manoushagian said Monday. “We take great pride in treating all people with dignity and respect. This officer’s statement does not reflect that. We have done it and we will continue to do so. Everybody is welcome here.”
Manoushagian clarified that at no time was Bates hit by the officer’s SUV. He was hit but never knocked down by the vehicle.