Federal Court Says Police Can Run Non-violent Suspects Off The Road

The Eighth Circuit US Court of Appeals thinks it is appropriate for police officers to use any force needed to ram a driver with an expired registration sticker off the road. That was what happened to Jerica Jena Moore-Jones as she was driving her white 2014 Dodge Challenger on Interstate 30 in Arkansas on November 7, 2015.

State trooper Anthony Todd Quick saw that he could issue an easy ticket, so he pulled behind Moore-Jones and turned on his overhead lights. Moore-Jones immediately slowed, but the road shoulder was unlit, dark and narrow — less than the width of her car. She did not feel safe. So she proceeded at 35 MPH — 20 MPH under the speed limit. So she proceeded for 42 seconds to find a wider spot, but the road was still narrow. Because she passed an exit, however, Trooper Quick decided to ram the Challenger off the road with the precision immobilization technique (PIT) maneuver. The Challenger was knocked into a ditch, sending Moore-Jones and her daughter to the hospital.

Moore-Jones sued the officer for using excessive force, and US District Judge J. Leon Holmes agreed the officer was out of line. After watching the dashcam video, the lower court judge did not believe Moore-Jones was fleeing. On appeal, however, a three-judge panel last month endorsed the trooper’s conduct.