(WJLA) – This is a Dash Cam video from P.G. County Police officer Anthony Ayers’ cruiser. It captured a collision between the cruiser and an ATV that sent driver Michael Lewis flying and gave him a concussion along with fractures.
Officers say the ATV should not have been on the road, and that Lewis was not wearing safety gear – but Lewis is still suing:
“The bottom line take from the video is it speaks for itself,” he said.
Ayers’ initial duress report on the accident indicated that his car was stationary at the time of the collision – a statement that the video does not seem to support.
“The use of force to make this traffic stop was very excessive,” said his attorney, Robinson Rowe.
Officers were responding to an unrelated non-emergency call when they spotted the ATV and made an abrupt turn. Ayers’ initial duress report on the accident indicated that his car was stationary at the time of the collision – a statement that the video does not seem to support.
This is Karen Blvd., where the crash happened. The officer with the dash cam testified that he manuevered his vehicle in a way to encourage the ATV to stop, and said the driver wasn’t able to control his vehicle and collided with cruiser.
The emergency lights on the vehicle were not on, and the officer did acknowledge this may not have been a textbook traffic stop.
Lewis was given 16 citations after the inident, but all were eventually dismissed in court. John Erzen is the spokesman for the State’s Attorney’s office, and states:
“We believe the officer testimony was consistent with what the video shows.”
Meanwhile, county police would not comment on the lawsuit, but said in a statement:
“Our department promptly launched an investigation and appropriate action was taken.”
Lewis’ lawyers now plan to ask a civil jury to take action based on what’s is on this video.
ATV TRAFFIC STOP RESULTS IN LAWSUIT AGAINST PRINCE GEORGE’S OFFICERS
Maryland Community News
Published: Friday, March 21, 2014
ATV traffic stop results in lawsuit against Prince George’s officers by Chase Cook Staff writer
Note: Images in the attached video may contain disturbing images to some viewers.
Prince George’s County police officers are being sued by a Capitol Heights man who says he was hit by an officer’s vehicle during an attempted traffic stop.
The lawsuit has been filed by Michael Dwayne Lewis of Capitol Heights, who said he was struck while riding his ATV on Karen Boulevard in Capitol Heights on March 9, 2013, according to court records. The suit alleges that Officer Anthony Ayers Jr. intentionally swung his vehicle in front of Lewis.
“This was a use of deadly force,” said Lewis’ attorney, Rob Rowe. “They intentionally drove over the lines and hit him.”
The Prince George’s County Police Department released this statement to The Gazette on March 20: “Our patrol officer immediately reported this incident, which occurred in March of 2013, to his supervisors. Our department promptly launched an investigation and appropriate action was taken. The patrol officer is assigned to District III. We’re not at liberty to comment further due to state and county law and pending litigation.”
Lewis was not made available for comment.
Officers allegedly connected with the incident are also named in the lawsuit.
Ayers’ dashboard camera, provided by Rowe, appears to show Ayers’ vehicle in the right lane before it swerves into the left lane as another officer attempts to stop Lewis by pulling in front of him. Lewis avoided the initial collision, but appears to hit Ayers’ vehicle.
Lewis suffered broken bones and bruises, and was issued 16 citations by county police, Rowe said.
Lewis was found not guilty of the 16 citations by a judge who determined 15 of those citations were not applicable to an ATV and a judge who didn’t think Lewis participated in negligent driving, said John Erzen, spokesman for the county state’s attorney’s office.
When Ayers gave his statement after the crash, he said his vehicle was stationary when Lewis’ ATV crashed into the police cruiser, according to a police report. Erzen said the county state’s attorney’s office believes Ayers’ testimony is consistent with the presented evidence. Rowe said the video shows Ayers accelerating up to the point of the crash.
Rowe said the case is moving through the court system, and no official court date has been set.