Nicole Harper of Arkansas is suing the state police after she claims the police acted negligently in 'pitting' her car, causing the vehicle to flip while she said she was attempting to stop.
Senior Cpl. Rodney Dunn was attempting to stop Harper for speeding. Harper slowed down and activated her hazards while driving in the right lane for 2 minutes. Harper claimed she was looking for a safe place to stop because of the narrow shoulder. Dunn claimed Harper was fleeing and attempted to PIT (pursuit intervention technique) the car which caused it to roll over.
Harper is now suing for damages caused by the officer's pit maneuver. Harper was pregnant at the time and says she not only suffered physical injuries but emotional distress and trauma. "In my head I was going to lose the baby," said Harper.
The dashcam caught the exchange right after the car flipped in which Dunn asks, "Why didn’t you stop?"
Harper answered, "Because I didn’t feel it was safe." Dunn responded, "well this is where you ended up." Harper replied, "I thought it would be safe to wait until the exit." Dunn responded, "No ma’am, you pull over when law enforcement stops you."
In May, Harper filed a lawsuit against Arkansas State Police, claiming the PIT maneuver was negligent and an excessive use of force. "I feel like I had heard that’s what you do, you slow down, you put your flashers on and you drive to a safe place," Harper explained.
According to the state’s "Driver License Study Guide," under "What to do When You Are Stopped," the first in struction given states, "use emergency flashers to indicate to the officer that you are seeking a safe place to stop."
"What was done to Ms. Harper was deadly force," said her lawyer Andrew Norwood at Denton & Zachary. "There was a less dangerous and more safe avenue that could have been taken before flipping her vehicle and making it bounce off a concrete barrier going 60 miles an hour," Norwood said.
Lawmakers in the state are looking at the issue and say they are seeking solutions. "I think it will probably be appropriate that we have a committee hearing to look at this," said Sen. Bob Ballinger. "Find out how we’re using, what type of training, what type of limitations we have, and what are the justifications for the increase in usage of it."
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