/  12.17.2020

A Black man has filed an excessive force lawsuit against a Kansas deputy after he intentionally ran him over with his patrol car.

According to ABC News, Lionel Womack, who is a former Kansas City police detective, alleges that he sustained serious injuries after Kiowa County Sheriff’s Deputy Jeremy Rodriguez drove over him during their Aug. 15 encounter.

In a statement, Womack said that he was not speeding or under the influence when the deputy pulled him over. He also said his insurance, license and registration were all up to date. “When the first officer turned his lights on, I pulled over and complied … exactly as you’re supposed to,” he said. “But when three additional vehicles pulled up quickly and started to surround my car, I freaked out.”

He continued, “That’s when I took off, it was a ‘fight or flight’ moment and I was going to live. 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.”

Dashcam video of the incident was recently released. The footage shows Rodriguez using his patrol vehicle to catch up to Womack, who was running on foot in a field. He then swerved his truck to hit Womack. A second deputy is heard yelling vulgar words as he looks on.

Womack says he sustained injuries to his pelvis, back, thigh, right knee, ankle and foot. He is still incarcerated from the incident, on felony charges of attempting to elude law enforcement by engaging in reckless driving and interfering with a law enforcement officer. He has also been charged with driving without headlights, improper signal and failure to drive in the right lane on a four-lane highway. His wife says he is still in jail because of an unrelated extradition request from another state where he was charged with endangering others while eluding police.

“The dashcam video is disturbing,” Attorney Michael Kuckelman said. “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.”


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