Man Acquitted For Dragging 2 Officers With Car Because He Said He Was Scared

Holly Matkin

Erie County Court Judge Susan Eagan acquitted parolee Marcus Prewitt on four assault charges on Feb. 6.

Buffalo, NY – A parolee accused of dragging two police officers with a vehicle as he was fleeing a traffic stop was acquitted of assault charges after his attorney convinced a judge that he was in fear of losing his life when he stomped on the accelerator.

Defense attorney Scott Riordan told the court that his client, 28-year-old convicted felon Marcus Prewitt, “thought he was going to die that night,” The Buffalo News reported. “My client was just terrified.”

Erie County Court Judge Susan Eagan agreed that Prewitt was under duress during the traffic stop, and she ultimately acquitted him of assaulting the officers – both of whom had been transported to the hospital due to the injuries they suffered during the attack.

“I'm astonished, shocked, disappointed," Buffalo Police Benevolent Association (PBA) President John Evans told The Buffalo News. "The officers were in fear of their lives…To find him not guilty of anything is just astounding."

The incident began at approximately 3:30 a.m. on April 10, 2019, when Buffalo Police Officer Matthew Cross and Officer Vincent Judge spotted a vehicle parked on the wrong side of Northampton Street.

Officer Judge approached the driver’s side and made contact with Prewitt, who was behind the wheel, while Officer Cross approached the passenger’s side of the car, The Buffalo News reported.

That’s when Officer Cross realized that Prewitt’s passenger, 30-year-old parolee Nicolas Johnson, had a firearm tucked into his waistband.

Officer Cross immediately yanked the door open and began ordering Johnson not to move as a scuffle over the weapon ensued.

“Don't [expletive] move. Don't [expletive] move, dude. I'll blow your [expletive],” the officer said, according to The Buffalo News. “Don't move. You have a gun on you. On your right side.”

Officer Cross ordered Johnson to put his hands on the dashboard and warned him that he would be shot if he didn’t stop fighting for the gun.

“I ain’t got nothing, man!” Johnson repeatedly argued.

“Please don’t shoot,” Prewitt said at one point during the altercation.

As the scuffle continued, Prewitt suddenly hit the accelerator, dragging the officers for approximately 150 feet, police said.

"They were basically attempting to wrestle this gun from this suspect before the driver took off at a high rate of speed," Buffalo Police Captain Jeff Rinaldo told The Buffalo News. “One officer had his foot run over and one was tossed from the car.”

The officers both suffered abrasions and scrapes, and one had to be stitched up, police said.

“They are pretty banged up,” Capt. Rinaldo said at the time.

Meanwhile, the parolees were arrested by additional officers a short distance away after Prewitt crashed the vehicle, The Buffalo News reported.

Police also recovered the suspect’s firearm, WIVB reported at the time.

Prewitt and Johnson were originally charged with reckless driving, resisting arrest, criminal possession of a weapon, obstructing governmental administration, reckless endangerment, two counts of assault, two counts of attempted assault on a police officer, and two counts of attempted aggravated assault on a police officer, The Buffalo News reported.

On Jan. 30, Johnson pleaded guilty to attempted criminal possession of a weapon.

Eagan found Prewitt not guilty on four assault charges following a three-day bench trial that concluded on Feb. 6, The Buffalo News reported.

During the trial, Riordan argued that his “terrified” client felt he had no choice but to drive away from the scene because of the officers’ threats that they would shoot if his armed passenger didn’t comply with their orders.

"If you really look at it, any reasonable person in my client's position would believe the officer when he said he would blow his head off,” Riordan told the court.

He said that Eagan “did the right thing” by buying into the duress defense.

“If you look at the duress defense, you can't take away what the police officer was saying,” Riordan told The Buffalo News. “And you can't take away, if you believe my client was afraid, him saying 'Please don't shoot.'"

Erie County District Attorney John Flynn said that applying the duress defense in Prewitt’s case was “ridiculous,” and that neither of the officers even drew their weapons during the altercation.

"I respect Judge Eagan, but I respectfully disagree with her decision," Flynn told The Buffalo News. “His defense was that he was under duress, that he was in fear for himself and that's why he took off which is nonsense.”

“This opens the door potentially for other officers to get hurt here,” the district attorney warned.

Flynn said that the officers’ commands reflected the seriousness of the situation.

“In a perfect world, do we want professional language? Sure,” he said. “But I'm not going to fault anyone for using that kind of language with a suspect who has a gun. We're not in church."

Evans said that the Buffalo Police Department’s (BPD) morale has plummeted in the wake of Eagan’s ruling.

“It’s not a good time to be a cop,” the PBA president said.

The only legal matter Prewitt still faces is a parole violation, The Buffalo News reported.

Johnson, who is scheduled to be sentenced by Eagan on March 23, faces 12 years to life in prison on the weapons charge, The Buffalo News reported.

Comments (86)
shooter
shooter

The #WarOnCops continues unabated.

No. 1-22
Hi_estComnDenomn
Hi_estComnDenomn

It makes sense. He threatened to shoot someone who didn't have a gun. If cops can be afraid for their lives with guns and tazers and backup, so can an individual.

I hope this is setting a new precedent. Who immediately throws a door open when you see a gun?

44 Replies

Viking24
Viking24

Out of that 995, 47 were unarmed — 23 were white, 17 were black, 5 were Hispanic, and 2 were unknown.

Out of the 30-50 million interactions that the police had with the American public last year, 10 million people were arrested, and less than 0.01 percent were shot and killed by the police. Out of those 10 million people arrested, 47 of those shot and killed were unarmed, which equates to 0.00047 percent, 17 of which were black.

Shhhhh!

flybynight
flybynight

"That’s when Officer Cross realized that Prewitt’s passenger, 30-year-old parolee Nicolas Johnson, had a firearm tucked into his waistband"

No gun?

Jim H. - Virginia US
Jim H. - Virginia US

“Don't move. You have a gun on you. On your right side.”

Police also recovered the suspect’s firearm

Johnson pleaded guilty to attempted criminal possession of a weapon.

ScaleriBrosLawyer
ScaleriBrosLawyer

Don't be bringing facts into this, it really hurts the 'policemen bad' narrative.

flybynight
flybynight

I've been guilty of introducing facts into some of these stories as well so I should be more careful. Trolls find facts tend to wreck narratives. I apologize.

flybynight
flybynight

But, but, but lowestcom said no gun. Who am I supposed to believe? *sarc

Hi_estComnDenomn
Hi_estComnDenomn

this doesnt address anything I said. What a useless response.

Hi_estComnDenomn
Hi_estComnDenomn

the passenger had a gun, not the driver. did you read the story, or react emotionally like you normally do?

Hi_estComnDenomn
Hi_estComnDenomn

did you also not read the story? the passenger had the gun, not the driver.

NTPD935Ret
NTPD935Ret

Should of shot both of those assholes in their heads and we would never have to deal with them again.

Hi_estComnDenomn
Hi_estComnDenomn

That shouldn't have happened because neither of them were a threat.

You on the other hand. It was too bad you didn't get blasted during your career. There's still time though. Hopefully you catch the flu and your recessive genes never recover.

2jazzyj
2jazzyj

You keep asking everyone if they read it. I will ask you, are you sure that you read it?

From you, " It makes sense. He threatened to shoot someone who didn't have a gun." Take your time and go back into the story and show me where the officer threatened to shoot the driver. You might need to have someone read it to you since you have a reading and comprehension problem that I have to bring up all too often with you!

Hi_estComnDenomn
Hi_estComnDenomn

semantics. if someone is pointing a gun at someone in the car from the side, it's aimed at everyone in that line. Are you aware of rule #5 in gun safety?

MBSR
MBSR

Didn't the article say that neither officer had a firearm drawn?

reverett456117502
reverett456117502

Would you get a job and get the hell off here! Get off Welfare and Government Assistance WE ARE PAYING for and find a job. You'd have less time to be on here causing problems and finding fault with the very people who protect the public!

Farticus
Farticus

Did YOU read the story??
The passenger was the ONLY one with a gun!!
The officers never pulled theirs out. If he was going to be shot, it would have been by the guy he sped off with!!

LEO0301
LEO0301

HCD never wants you to confuse the situation with facts. It's much easier for him to ignore the actual story and create a brand new narrative.

flybynight
flybynight

Oh I did read the story and I read your comment. You tried to make it sound as if the only guns involved were the big bad popo guns. Couldn't let you slide by with that.

flybynight
flybynight

Lowestcom will one day learn that facts are very stubborn things. But of course that will take some "growing up" on his part.

flybynight
flybynight

In the immortal words of Redd Foxx / Fred Sanford "Are you crazy"!!!!!!

Quasar704
Quasar704

In all fairness... The passenger never pulled his gun either. It was in his waistband. Does this mean he didn’t have a gun? You just attempted to make it seem as if the cops had no guns because they were never drawn lololol.

Quasar704
Quasar704

The article says they stated they would shoot. In order to shoot they would have to draw their firearms. They would then point those firearms and Prewitt would probably be in the background. If this isn’t a reason to fear for your life idk what is.

Quasar704
Quasar704

Now.... Adjust for population. They same way we do when we’re discussing crime rates and how they are disproportionate among black people in the U.S.

SAAM
SAAM

Your parents really did a poor job of raising you. Your like the black version of the Ku Klukers. I actually feel sorry for you.

sizzle937
sizzle937

Great now every punk will say “I was scared get popo was goin to shoot my ass.
The cops would have been better off just shooting him

flybynight
flybynight

Your buddy blowcom tried to make it sound like there was no gun in the car. Dindonuffin trolls. 🙄

2jazzyj
2jazzyj

Are you aware that semantics do not make your view correct? You specifically said that ''he threatened to shoot someone who didn't have a gun''. Now you are backtracking like you always do because facts don't matter. Typical Libtard move.. Also, when Prewitt took off, officer Cross could have and maybe should have shot Prewitt, 'beyond Johnson'.

Hi_estComnDenomn
Hi_estComnDenomn

That last sentence is why he got off. Heres to "I feared for my life" starting to work for citizens as well!

2jazzyj
2jazzyj

Ignorant defense lawyers, judges and social media trolls.

Hi_estComnDenomn
Hi_estComnDenomn

White supremacists who wear badges, and white supremacists like you that support them.

flybynight
flybynight

Only our blow hard trolls would come here and try putting a positive spin on this kind of story. Even they don't believe what their saying. Their just collecting a meager pay check from G. $oro$ and talking ghetto shit.

2jazzyj
2jazzyj

Exactly! Even LoComm can't be this damn ignorant....... oh wait.

flybynight
flybynight

Oh but he can, and he proves it time after time........willingly.

Farticus
Farticus

So, in all fairness, if the passenger didn’t have his gun drawn, and the cops didn’t have their guns drawn, why did the driver have such a fear of getting shot that he felt a need to drive away, dragging the no guns drawn cops, keeping the no gun drawn passenger with him. All he did was try driving away and bringing all the guys with undrawn guns, that were making him afraid of being shot, with him.

RebekahJP
RebekahJP

The passenger had a gun and the passenger was the one in danger of being shot. Who throws a door open when they see a gun? Cops. Heroes that risk their lives to take criminals off the streets and try to do it without getting themselves killed.

Quasar704
Quasar704

If a guy that you presume to be a murderer (regardless of whether your presumption is rational or not) Threatens to kill you or someone standing right next to you would you not believe him? Lolol I think I would

flybynight
flybynight

Nor should we take their long history of involvement with the big bad popo into consideration either, right crazy704? And if I remember correctly, the passenger claimed he didn't have a gun. Turns out he did, I'm shocked as I'm sure you are. *sarc

Quasar704
Quasar704

The passenger is in a car sitting next to the driver, the driver is definitely in danger of being shot. Google “India Kager”

flybynight
flybynight

Driver should pick better friends.

Terminaters168
Terminaters168

He had a gun moron I’m sure it was not his

Hi_estComnDenomn
Hi_estComnDenomn

No, the driver didn't. Have someone smarter than you read the article and ask them who had a gun.

Terminaters168
Terminaters168

The passenger had a gun all the criminal had to do was ask him nicely to put it down

Farticus
Farticus

So guys with guns in holsters are a threat, but guys with guns in waistbands are not.

Quasar704
Quasar704

Huh? I think you misunderstood something somewhere along the line. A gun doesn’t make anyone “a threat”. It’s the actions of that person while possessing that gun that make them a threat.

A cop with his firearm holstered isn’t a threat.... But if he starts telling you that he’s going to blow your fucking head off (or a person sitting right next to you in this case).... You may want to take him seriously.

flybynight
flybynight

Hey, it's New York.

Sgt167
Sgt167

Hopefully they appeal this because I don’t think that ruling is based in law. Can’t resist the police when they’re making a lawful arrest or even an unlawful arrest that’s what the courts are for. My god where do these bleeding heart judges come from?

LynnSB
LynnSB

Just absolutely amazing you know wouldn’t be a damn shame if this exact judge that drug around like these officers did not make maybe a little farther I don’t know let’s see how well she fares and let’s see what it does to her stupid ignorant response to it

Bellacat
Bellacat

The war on cops continues and the judges seem all to eager to help by letting the criminals go free.

Burgers Allday
Burgers Allday

#unsafetactics

buzzard60
buzzard60

I notice that those of you who muddy the water with facts still don't seem to deter non-factual responses from Hi_estComnDenomn. I find occasionally though he does say something that makes one think, not often, but occasionally.

DR226
DR226

Get these female softhearted gullable judges off the bench. Weapon in a motor a vehicle? No permits to possess a firearm? A slew of charges could have been filed but only convicted on attempted possession. SMFH😠

unholyone
unholyone

Does this mean if I'm afraid of the IRS (and I am), I can avoid confrontation with them every year with no penalties? "Being afraid" is a new affirmative defense? UFB.

Pack
Pack

I hope that judge dies at the hands of one of her releases while waiting on the police to get there.

Stanracer
Stanracer

This bleeding heart, hug-a-thug, police hating, liberal judge needs to be fired....forthwith!

kkat
kkat

If that is his reaction to fear, I hope I never end up on a Rollercoaster with that guy!

magnumforc
magnumforc

Is it a requirement to be black to be scared of the police? I believe so since how many times does this happen to other races. Just another bullcrap story on how the justice system has failed us all, especially my brothers and sisters in blue.

gottie
gottie

Why bother to be a Police Officer if these Dumb Judges let the scumbags go 😡

RunCop
RunCop

Lowest common denominators of course

Michael Bryant
Michael Bryant

Judge has no idea about the law are cares about the law.
She should be disbarred and left out in the cold with her new friend... He will do again and maybe kill a officer or someone else. Hey Judge "A FELON", not a 16 year old with out driver a license.
A liberal for sure helping to tear down law and order.😵🤬💩

Diwatson
Diwatson

He was armed and they recovered his weapon. Are there not laws against parolees carrying guns? At the VERY LEAST he should have been charged for that but the judge’s decision has made it open season on pice officers. All you have to do is say you were afraid for your life. She is another left leaning do gooder where everything is peace and love. She has no business being a judge. The perp is probably laughing his face off right about now.

Marxest
Marxest

That's an interesting and exciting development. Im glad Mr Marcus Prewitt was acquitted of those trumped up charges of assaulting those officers. The fact that Mr Prewitt said "please don't shoot" clearly shows that he feared for his life and that these officers were clearly threatening lethal force against both men. I can understand why he would drive off like that. The Judge Susan Eagan made a clear and fair ruling based on the behavior and mindsets of everyone involved in that incident. This isn't a ruling that supports a fictitious "war on cops" or some other anti police nonsense that the right falsely purports. It was