BELLE PLAINE, Kan. — The dashcam video captured a horrific scene: a Kansas sheriff’s deputy in a patrol truck mowing down a Black man who was working, shirtless, throughout a discipline in the summertime darkness after fleeing a site visitors cease.
Lionel Womack — a 35-year-old former police detective from Kansas Metropolis, Kansas — alleges in a extreme power lawsuit filed Thursday that he sustained severe accidents when Kiowa County Sheriff’s Deputy Jeremy Rodriguez deliberately drove over him in the course of the Aug. 15 encounter.
Womack mentioned in an announcement that he hadn’t been dashing nor was he below the affect of something when he was initially pulled over. His driver’s license, insurance coverage and registration had been updated.
“When the first officer turned his lights on, I pulled over and complied … exactly as you’re supposed to. But when three additional vehicles pulled up quickly and started to surround my car, I freaked out. That’s when I took off, it was a ‘fight or flight’ moment and I was going to live,” he mentioned. “I felt like I was in danger. This was out in the country, late at night, and it was dark. So I ran for my life. That’s what you see in the dashcam video. I’m running in an open field, and I’m scared.”
The graphic video is on the crux of the federal civil rights case filed by legal professional Michael Kuckelman towards the deputy in U.S. District Courtroom in Kansas. The lawsuit argues that Rodriguez used extreme power and was “callously indifferent” to Womack’s civil rights.
Womack had left the police division earlier in August with hopes of rising his personal safety enterprise. He was on his approach again dwelling from a enterprise journey to California when a Kansas Freeway Patrol officer in western Kansas initiated a chase over “an alleged traffic violation,” based on the lawsuit. Sheriff’s deputies from Pratt County and Kiowa County joined within the chase.
The automotive chase finally ended on a dust highway, and Womack took off on foot throughout a close-by farm discipline.
The dashcam footage from a Pratt County sheriff’s deputy’s automobile exhibits Rodriguez utilizing his patrol truck to catch as much as Womack, who was unarmed.
Rodriguez swerves his truck to hit Womack, knocking him to the bottom and working over him. Womack rolls out from below the truck, his legs and arms flailing on the bottom as somebody on the video shouts, “lie down, lie down.” A deputy within the second patrol truck may be heard uttering an expletive as he watches what is going on.
Womack alleges in his lawsuit that he sustained severe accidents to his again, pelvis and thigh in addition to to his proper knee, ankle and foot.
“The dashcam video is disturbing,” Kuckelman mentioned. “It is impossible to watch a video of a deputy driving his truck over Mr. Womack without feeling sick. There was nowhere for Mr. Womack to go. It was an open field, and he was trapped, yet the deputy drove his truck over him anyway.”
Neither Kiowa County Sheriff Chris Tedder nor his legal professional has responded to Related Press requests for remark. Nobody has defined why Rodriguez selected to run Womack down. The deputy’s race is unclear.
Kuckelman urged Tedder in individual and in letters to fireside Rodriguez, and the sheriff has refused. Rodriguez stays on patrol. Kuckelman additionally needs Rodriguez charged criminally and has accused the sheriff of partaking in a coverup of the deputy’s conduct.
4 months later, Womack stays jailed on felony fees of making an attempt to elude a regulation enforcement officer by partaking in reckless driving and interference with a regulation enforcement officer. Courtroom information present he’s additionally charged with a number of misdemeanor site visitors citations, together with failure to drive in the correct lane on a four-lane freeway, improper sign and driving with out headlights.
Womack comes from a regulation enforcement household. His spouse and his mom are law enforcement officials with the Kansas Metropolis, Kansas Police Division. His stepfather retired from police work as a sergeant there. Two aunts are police dispatchers.
Zee Womack watched the video of her husband being run over for the primary time on Wednesday, replaying it 4 occasions as she struggled to know why the deputy felt justified in utilizing such power. Her husband is fortunate to be alive, she mentioned.
“I am a police officer as well, and I feel like especially right now it is a really difficult time to be a police officer. We don’t always get the support, I guess, that would be helpful in this occupation,” she said shortly after watching the video. “And this makes it a lot more difficult to be an officer.”
An officer who’s able to making selections like that, she mentioned, mustn’t have a badge.
“To me it showed a blatant disregard for human life,” she mentioned. Zee Womack filed a federal lawsuit final 12 months alleging “rampant racism and sexism” within the Kansas Metropolis, Kansas Police Division.
Lionel Womack mentioned in his assertion that the majority law enforcement officials are good and that he believes within the “blue brotherhood.”
“But we have to hold law enforcement accountable when they cross the line,” he mentioned “These rogue law enforcement officers give a bad name to the good officers, and we have to stop them. I never imagined that I would someday be the victim of excessive force by a fellow law enforcement officer. He could have easily killed me.”