ATV traffic stop results in lawsuit against Prince George’s officers -- Gazette.Net


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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.