A Buffalo, New York man has filed a spinal cord injury lawsuit against the city of Buffalo after city police officers violated department policy by chasing the vehicle he was riding in. The high-speed chase led to an accident that left the man paralyzed from the neck down.
The 2019 accident that caused Nikir Brown’s spinal cord injury occurred when the 2005 Honda Accord he was riding in tried to outrun police who had noticed a tinted license plate cover and attempted to pull the driver over. Mr. Brown’s lawsuit cites the city, the police department, the officers involved in the chase and Marquel McCarley, who was driving the Honda.
Spinal Cord Injury Victim Says Police Chase Should Never Have Happened
Mr. Brown was seated in the rear passenger seat of McCarley’s vehicle when the accident that caused his spinal cord injury occurred. He suffered a C5 complete spinal cord injury that leaves him unable to walk and having a difficult time eating. His representative points out that official police policy forbids high-speed chases for minor offenses, and the Buffalo Police Manual of Operating Procedures states “…vehicular pursuit of suspects in motor vehicles shall be limited to those circumstances in which the life or safety of any person is in imminent danger, or in which the person being pursued is suspected of having committed a violent felony. Even in these limited circumstances, the pursuit must be discontinued whenever the risk to the Officers or to the public engendered by the pursuit, outweighs the benefit of immediately apprehending the suspect.”
Mr. Brown’s spinal cord injury is far from the only example of a person being injured or killed as a result of a police chase, and there have been numerous successful personal injury lawsuits filed by victims seeking to stop these dangerous chases. A recent report in USA Today indicates that since 1979 there have been more than 5,000 bystanders and passengers killed in police car chases, and many more injured.