Ga. officer injured after teen driver intentionally hit him with SUV
While attempting to confront a teenager driving a stolen SUV, the boy drove into him, running over the officer and breaking his leg
By Henri Hollis
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
ATLANTA — A College Park police officer was injured early Saturday morning while attempting to confront a teenager driving a stolen SUV when the boy drove into him, running over the officer and breaking his leg.
During the incident, the officer could have used lethal force against the teenager but said he made a conscious decision not to. It cost him a broken leg and a trip to the emergency room at Grady Memorial Hospital, but the teenager kept his life.
“I was like, ‘I don’t want to hurt this kid,’” Officer Ivory Morris told WSB-TV from his hospital bed. “I don’t want to take nobody’s kid away from them.”
Morris’ supervisor told WSB that the officer had every right to pull his weapon and use deadly force against the boy who hit him with the SUV. Under Georgia law, law enforcement officers are allowed to use deadly force in circumstances that pose an imminent threat of death or great bodily harm.
The incident began around 1:30 a.m. Saturday when Morris noticed a stolen Nissan Rogue had been detected by the city’s Flock license plate-reading cameras. He went to the Hilton Garden Inn at Millenium Center near the Atlanta airport to investigate and spotted the car there.
As Morris went to confront the driver, he noticed another teenager standing near the Nissan, but the car drove away as he approached. He became involved in a struggle with the teenager in the parking lot when the SUV returned, WSB reported.
With the SUV approaching, the teenager in Morris’ grasp jumped onto the hood of the Nissan, pulling Morris with him. The boy told the other teenager behind the wheel to drive off, which led to both the teen and Morris being thrown from the hood. The car ran over Morris as it drove away. It’s not clear whether the other teen was injured.
Morris said he could have reached his weapon while he was on the hood of the Nissan.
“When I was on top of that car, I had my other hand free to reach for the gun, but I said, ‘I don’t want to pull it,’” Morris told WSB.
In other similar cases in the metro Atlanta area, law enforcement officers have chosen to use deadly force against people they felt posed a threat from their driver’s seats.
On Monday, a man who was shot in the head by a Coweta County sheriff’s deputy filed a lawsuit against the county’s sheriff’s office. He was shot after a short car chase when he pressed the accelerator while boxed in by patrol cars, according to Coweta officials. A grand jury chose not to indict the deputy who fired the shot, but now that deputy is among the defendants named in the lawsuit.
In January 2020, a man driving a stolen Chevrolet Camaro in the Edgewood neighborhood was shot and killed by a Georgia State Patrol trooper when he drove away as the trooper approached his car. DeKalb County District Attorney Sherry Boston chose not to press charges against the trooper after seeing body camera footage of the incident, but the case was a factor in altering the Atlanta Police Department’s “no chase” policy.
The teenager who hit Morris with the stolen Nissan remains at large. He and two other teenagers with him are now wanted on aggravated assault charges, among several others, WSB reported.
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