In a tragic incident last July, Arkansas State Police officer Rodney Dunn caused Arkansas resident Janice Nicole Harper's car to flip over. Officer Dunn employed a Precision Immobilization Technique (PIT) maneuver causing Harper's car to crash into the concrete guardrail.
Now Harper is suing Officer Dunn, his supervisor Sergeant Alan Johnson and Arkansas State Police director Colonel Bill Bryant.
Harper, who was pregnant the night of the crash, was going 14 miles over the speed limit on a three lane highway when the officer put on his lights and sirens to signal her to pull over.
In the dashcam footage, you can see Harper slow down drastically, pull to the right and put on her hazard lights.
Dunn proceeded to enact the PIT maneuver to stop the "chase" two minutes later. This move resulted in the car going out of frame of the dashcam across three lanes before crashing.
Harper explained she chose to wait until there was an exit to pull over because the shoulder didn't having enough room to safely stop due to concrete barriers on both sides of the highway.
You can see footage of the crash here:
From the footage, you could hear Dunn talk to Harper as she's in the driver's seat still.
"Why didn't you stop?"
Harper replied, obviously distressed over the recent crash:
"Because I didn't feel it was safe."
Without any empathy Dunn said:
"Well, this is where you ended up."
Still, Harper tried to explain:
"I thought it would be safer to wait until the next exit."
Dunn responded, doubling down he was in the right for flipping her car and endangering others on the road.
"No, ma'am. You pull over when law enforcement stops you."
Fox 16 KLRT reported Harper is suing for negligent use of a PIT maneuver, putting her and her unborn child in danger and for not giving Dunn proper training on how and when to use the PIT maneuver. Arkansas State Police used this technique 306 times in the past four years, with an increase from 73 times in 2019 to almost double at 144 times in 2020.
Each year the use of the maneuver increased drastically.
Even though Dunn claimed the move is standard practice for "fleeing" vehicle's, Harper was in compliance with the rules according to the Arkansas State Police "Driver License Study Guide."
"[Use] emergency flashers to indicate to the officer that you are seeking a safe place to stop."
Which is exactly what Harper did.
Lawyer Andrew Norwood of Denton & Zachary—who represents Harper—said:
"What was done to Ms. Harper was deadly force."
"There was a less dangerous and more safe avenue that could have been taken before flipping her vehicle and making it bounce off a concrete barrier going 60 miles an hour."
Arkansas Republican state Senator Bob Ballinger agreed something must be done.
"I think it will probably be appropriate that we have a committee hearing to look at this."
"Find out how we're using, what type of training, what type of limitations we have, and what are the justifications for the increase in usage of it."
"The facts you reported, it seems like it was highly inappropriate to utilize the PIT maneuver there."
The state police seem to be the only party who think this was "fleeing" or "resisting" in any way based on the dashcam footage.
The Arkansas Attorney General's office has yet to comment, but State Police Colonel Bill Bryant said their PIT maneuver policy is completely safe.