Motorcycle rider sues Texas police officer after officer ran him over in SUV 1

Motorcycle rider sues Texas police officer after officer ran him over in SUV

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A motorcycle rider is suing a Texas police officer after dashcam captured the officer running him over when he attempted to flee from them on foot.

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Dustin Bates filed the federal lawsuit on Monday claiming that Lake Worth Officer Jonathan Granado injured him after he struck him with his squad vehicle on November 23, 2020.  

The chase had been captured on Granado’s dashcam which saw Bates fleeing from the officer after he attempted to pull him over at the intersection of Lake Worth Boulevard and Boat Club Road.

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Granado has since claimed he did not intend to hit Bates with his vehicle which caused him to fracture his spine, three ribs and his right leg in two places, according to the suit. 

Bates has requested a jury trial and has asked for unspecified punitive damages.

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Bates sparked a high speed chase on a Texas highway after he failed to pull over for a traffic stop

Dustin Bates filed the federal lawsuit on Monday claimed that Lake Worth Officer Jonathan Granado hit and injured him after he struck him with his squad vehicle on November 23, 2020

Dustin Bates (left) filed the federal lawsuit on Monday claimed that Lake Worth Officer Jonathan Granado (right)  hit and injured him after he struck him with his squad vehicle on November 23, 2020 

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Bates filed the lawsuit on Monday with the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas

Bates filed the lawsuit on Monday with the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas

Police dashcam footage captured the moment motorcycle rider Dustin Bates was struck by Lake Worth Officer Jonathan Granado on November 23, 2020

Police dashcam footage captured the moment motorcycle rider Dustin Bates was struck by Lake Worth Officer Jonathan Granado on November 23, 2020

In the video, Bates was seen on a motorcycle in front of Granado’s squad vehicle while they were waiting at a red light at the intersection.

After running the bike’s license plate, Granado noted that the number did not match  that of the motorcycle. 

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The officer turned on his lights and chased Bates who sped up and crossed to another lane. Bates continued to make his way down the highway before cutting over to the exit.

Granado followed Bates and merged onto Interstate Loop 280 with the cyclist continuing to evade him.

He continued his pursuit and tailed him off on another exit towards Marine Creek Parkway where Bates was then seen attempting to flee from him on foot.

As Bates ran towards the other side of the exit, Granado hit him in the back with his vehicle after pulling off to the side.

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Officers are then heard barking commands at Bates before taking him into custody.

Granado attempted to pull Bates over after noticing that his license plate did not match those of the numbers for the motorcycle

Granado attempted to pull Bates over after noticing that his license plate did not match those of the numbers for the motorcycle

Bates led the officers on a high speed chase which included veering off of a couple of exits

Bates led the officers on a high speed chase which included veering off of a couple of exits

Off the exit towards Marine Creek Parkway, Bates was seen fleeing from the officers on foot

Off the exit towards Marine Creek Parkway, Bates was seen fleeing from the officers on foot

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One of the officers in the footage can be heard yelling at him to put his hands behind his back or risk being shot.  

Bates also had to undergo surgery as a result due to the injuries he sustained from the crash which is said to have left permanent scarring. 

He has since filed the suit with the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas. 

A criminal investigation was opened following the crash with the details being given to a grand jury in March of last year who then ruled against taking any kind of action in the case.

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Lake Worth Chief of Police JT Manoushagian spoke at a Monday press conference to further address the incident.

‘What I saw on the video is not in keeping with the actions we expect our officers to take,’ he said, according to NBC DFW. 

‘We caused injury to someone and it was due to the officer’s poor judgment. I was disappointed. I was sad.’

Manoushagian said that the department opened up their own investigation and discovered two violations had been committed in terms of operating a vehicle without injury.

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However, Granado was found to have not broken any policy in relation to the pursuit. 

He was hit with an 80-hour suspension and was to perform administrative duties until the grand jury made their decision. He had briefly resigned in December before they ruled against taking action.

Granado also had to undergo training in relation to properly operating emergency vehicles. 

‘We believe that using progressive discipline and procedural justice is important when dealing and administering justice for our officers,’ Maoushagian also said at the conference. ‘We do have to take into account that everyone makes mistakes in their job. 

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‘Considering this is a young officer very early in his career … we would never have seasoned, tenured officers who had had the opportunity to learn from mistakes if we fired them all after their first mistake. 

‘So, after a review of the circumstances, knowing that this was an accident, the officer did not intentionally mean to strike Mr. Bates with his car, he accepted responsibility for that, he was disciplined for that. I believe that was the right decision given the circumstances.’

Granado then pulled over off to the side of the paved exit to catch up to Bates

Granado then pulled over off to the side of the paved exit to catch up to Bates

Granado was said to have been going about 45mph when he had hit the grass

Granado was said to have been going about 45mph when he had hit the grass

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Granado, however, struck Bates in the back and caused him to fall to the ground

Granado, however, struck Bates in the back and caused him to fall to the ground

The chief also added that Bates previously had a criminal history and was found to have a parole warrant and was also in possession of drugs.

‘He had a lengthy criminal history,’ Manoushagian said. ‘He committed a felony by fleeing in the motorcycle.

‘He was also committing a felony by being in possession of half an ounce of methamphetamine and then on top of all of that had a parole warrant.’

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The charges against Bates have since been dropped, according to one of his attorneys. 

Manoushagian said that Granado stopped the chase after he says he saw a cloud of dust which was assumed to be a result of Bate’s motorcycle crashing.

‘As he tracked Mr. Bates with his eyes, he began to veer off the roadway,’ he continued. ‘Just as many people do, where your eyes go the wheel of your car follows.’

He also said that Granado was going at a speed of 45mph when he hit Bates but was already applying his brakes before pulling over and striking him.

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The vehicle continued to slide as the chief claimed that the grass was wet when Granado pulled over. 

The suit, however, claimed that Granado’s brakes had not been applied before striking Bates.

Bates’ attorney said that Granado and the other officers at the scene had violated his client’s constitutional rights to be free from excessive deadly force during the course of his arrest which ‘was objectively unreasonable under the circumstances and inflicted unnecessary injury, pain, suffering, and permanent physical disfigurement upon Mr. Bates.’

He also added that Bates fleeing on foot did not present any type of threat towards the officers.  

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Lake Worth Police Chief JT Manoushagian spoke at a press conference in relation to the incident on Monday

Lake Worth Police Chief JT Manoushagian spoke at a press conference in relation to the incident on Monday

The suit had also claimed that an officer identified as James O’Bannon made scathing comments towards Bates after he had been hit.

‘Probably shouldn’t have run. A lot of people think we can’t chase motorcycles,’ O’Bannon allegedly said. ‘That’s wrong. We can and we will. Welcome to Lake Worth.’

‘This is what happens when your run from the law. If you would have just stopped it would have been fine.’

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‘I’m not going to sugar coat it for you, you run from us this is what happens.’

Manoushagian has since apologized for O’Bannon’s alleged comments and said that he had been reprimanded for his actions.

‘The quote by the officer on (the) scene does not reflect the attitudes and principles of our department. Specifically, the insinuation, of ‘Welcome to Lake Worth,’ he said in his statement.

‘We are a police department that takes tremendous pride in providing excellent service and protection to the public and to the people that we arrest.

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‘We take great pride in treating all people with dignity and respect. The statement by this officer does not reflect that. We have and we will continue to address that. All people are welcome here.’ 

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