An Arkansas woman filed a lawsuit against the State Police after an officer used the Precision Immobilization Technique, or PIT maneuver, during a traffic stop, causing her car to flip. The driver was pregnant at the time of the accident.
FOX 16 reports that in July of 2020, Nicole Harper was on her way home when Senior Cpl pulled her over. Rodney Dunn for spreading. In an attempt to pull over in a safe place, Harper slowed down and turned on her hazards.
Shortly after putting on his lights, Dunn performed a PIT maneuver causing Harper’s car to crash into a median and flip over.
“I thought it would be safe to wait until the exit,” Harper can be heard saying on Dunn’s body mic. To which he replies, “no ma’am, you pull over when law enforcement stops you.”
Harper filed a lawsuit in May, claiming the PIT maneuver was excessive use of force and negligent. The suit cites the dashcam footage showing Harper signaled she wanted to pull over by slowing down and turning on her hazards. The goal of the lawsuit is for a PIT policy change to occur.
A recent investigation by FOX 16 showed that the State Police’s use of PIT maneuvers was on the rise. Last year, troopers used PITs on 144 people, almost double the year before. Three people were killed, one a passenger.
The Arkansas State Police did not respond to requests by the outlet for comment, but a joint committee that oversees them said they would like to look further into what’s occurring.
“I think it will probably be appropriate that we have a committee hearing to look at this,” Sen. Bob Ballinger (R-Ozark) said. “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.”
After seeing what happened to Harper, Sen. Ballinger says he has serious questions surrounding the use of PITs. He agrees there needs to be a conversation had about what’s going on.