It sounds like something from a nightmare, but it’s what 35-year-old Lionel Womack is alleging he experienced in real life—a cop in Kansas deliberately driving a patrol truck over his body while chasing him through an open field.
Womack, who used to be a former police officer, was pulled over during a late-night traffic stop this summer by deputies from Kiowa County and Pratt County in Kansas, according to a federal lawsuit filed he filed on Thursday, which AP first reported. He accuses the deputies of using excessive force and being callously indifferent to his civil rights.
Womack said he attempted to escape the officers in a “flight or fight’’ moment because he was surrounded by multiple patrol vehicles and felt in danger. He ended up leaving his car and running away from the deputies on foot, and that’s when he says that a specific officer—Sheriff’s Deputy Jeremy Rodriguez—purposely ran over him with a truck. AP obtained video of the encounter, which serves as a key piece of evidence in Womack’s lawsuit.
From the AP:
The dashcam footage from a Pratt County sheriff’s deputy’s vehicle shows Rodriguez using his patrol truck to catch up to Womack, who was unarmed.
Rodriguez swerves his truck to hit Womack, knocking him to the ground and running over him. Womack rolls out from under the truck, his arms and legs flailing on the ground as someone on the video shouts, “lie down, lie down.” A deputy in the second patrol truck can be heard uttering an expletive as he watches what is happening.
Womack alleges in his lawsuit that he sustained serious injuries to his back, pelvis and thigh as well as to his right knee, ankle and foot.
“I never imagined that I would someday be the victim of excessive force by a fellow law enforcement officer,” Womack told the AP, in a statement in which he added that he still believes in a “blue brotherhood.”
It’s a stance I find pretty stunning in light of what sounds like an incredibly harrowing and dehumanizing experience. Womack’s attorney has also reportedly accused the Kiowa County’s Sheriff of trying to cover up the behavior of the deputy who ran his client over.
The sheriff’s office has made no public statement on the case. Meanwhile, Womack is currently in jail on charges that relate to another incident with law enforcement in Oklahoma, said his wife (who is also a police officer).
Since the 2017 Unite the Right Rally in Charlottesville, Va., when James Field Jr., a white supremacist, drove into a group of peaceful protestors with his car and killed 32-year-old Heather Heyer and left numerous others injured, more incidents of people using their cars to mow down other human beings have been on the rise. During this year’s protests against racial justice, counter-protestors and even police were also seen speeding up their vehicles and driving into crowds of people.