A police officer from Arkansas, USA, is currently being sued over after they flipped a pregnant woman’s vehicle because she did not pull over fast enough.
Nicole Harper, the woman, was arriving near Jacksonville, Arkansas in June 2020 when she noticed a police vehicle signal her to stop her car and pull over to the side.
The woman slowed down and tried to find a decent spot to pull in, just like it is written in the Arkansas Driver License Study Guide.
Nicole said that she was driving towards an exit ramp because the highway shoulder was narrow.
The woman said that she was not given time to stop, but Officer Rodney Dunn was flashing his lights now for 2 minutes.
The officer then used the PIT (Precision Immobilization Technique), which causes a vehicle to bank left and smash into a road divider and flip onto its roof.
As the vehicle of Nicole went upside down, she was screaming out that she is pregnant.
Smoke was also coming from the underside of her vehicle.
Officer Dunn told Nicole at that time that this is what happens when you don’t stop fast enough.
The police in defence said that Nicole was trying to flee the police officer and was posing as a danger to other drivers.
Now, Nicole has launched a lawsuit against Police Officer Dun and the Arkansas State Police.
The woman is suing the police for negligently using the PIT manoeuvre and putting her own life and the life of her unborn child at risk.
The woman also claimed that the police department did not teach Dunn the proper technique of the manoeuvre.
Under a law in Arkansas, police officers to not have any personal responsibilities when they are working.
This means that they immunity from such things in case they have to use it while working.
Under the 2016 Law Code, it says:
The members, officers, executive director, and employees of the Interstate Commission for Adult Offender Supervision shall be immune from suit and liability, either personally or in their official capacity, for any claim for damage to or loss of property or personal injury or other civil liability caused or arising out of any actual or alleged act, error, or omission that occurred within the scope of interstate commission employment, duties, or responsibilities; provided, that nothing in this subdivision (a)(1) of this section shall be construed to protect any such person from suit and/or liability for any damage, loss, injury, or liability caused by the intentional or willful and wanton misconduct of any such person.
The lawyer of Nicole is now arguing that the police used deadly force against a pregnant woman who was looking for a safe place to stop.
According to a report by Fox16, the incident happened when Nicole Harper was driving home on I-67/167 outside Jacksonville. The woman was traveling at 84 miles per hour in a 70 miles per hour zone.
This prompted Sr. Cpl. Rodney Dunn to flash his lights and try to pull her over. The woman turned on her hazard lights, slowed down, and started to find a safe spot to park so they could talk.
Two minutes had passed by, the woman did not stop, this made the police officer use the PIT manoeuvre, which caused the vehicle to hit the concrete median and flip over.
The Attorney General’s Office declined to comment on the complaint and the use of PITs.
The State Police Department however released a statement about the incident, saying:
Over the past five years Arkansas State Troopers have documented a 52 percent increase in incidents of drivers making a conscious choice to ignore traffic stops initiated by the troopers. Instead of stopping, the drivers try to flee. In more populated areas of the state, the incidents of fleeing from troopers have risen by more than 80 percent. The fleeing drivers pull away at a high rate of speed, wildly driving, dangerously passing other vehicles, showing no regard for the safety of other motorists, creating an imminent threat to the public. The Arkansas State Police began using the Precision Immobilization Technique (PIT) over two decades ago. Trooper recruits while attending the department’s academy receive comprehensive initial training in the use of PIT. All incumbent troopers receive recurring annual training in emergency vehicle operations which includes PIT instruction. There’s a fundamental state law none of us should ever forget. All drivers are required under Arkansas law to safely pull-off the roadway and stop when a police officer activates the patrol vehicle emergency lights and siren. The language of the law is crystal clear. Upon the immediate approach of an authorized emergency vehicle displaying the signal to stop, the driver must pull-over and stop. *(see Arkansas statutes ACA §27-51-901 & §27-49-107) Should a driver make the decision to ignore the law and flee from police, state troopers are trained to consider their options. Based on the totality of circumstances a state trooper could deploy spike strips to deflate the tires of the vehicle being pursued, execute a boxing technique to contain the pursuit slowing the driver to a stop, execute a PIT maneuver or terminate the pursuit. Most Arkansas State Police pursuits end without a PIT maneuver being utilized. PIT has proven to be an effective tool to stop drivers who are placing others in harm’s way. It has saved lives among those who choose to obey the law against those who choose to run from police. In every case a state trooper has used a PIT maneuver, the fleeing driver could have chosen to end the pursuit by doing what all law-abiding citizens do every day when a police officer turns-on the blue lights – they pull over and stop.
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