Albany, GA – An Albany police officer is under investigation after he ran his patrol car into a parked car while he was chasing a suspect who was on foot (video below).
The series of events began when police responded to a call for a hit-and-run crash near the Albany Mall on July 24.
“Units responded to 2601 Dawson Road to assist with suspects involved in a hit and run auto accident that occurred at Nottingham Way and the Liberty Expressway,” Albany Police Public Information Officer Phyllis Banks wrote in an email to the Albany Herald.
The three suspects involved in the wreck fled from the scene on foot.
“The suspects left the scene, abandoned their vehicle, and ran from the initial responding patrol officers,” Officer Banks wrote.
The officers chased 30-year-old Anthony Docks through the mall parking lot.
“Assisting officers observed one suspect, who was later identified as Anthony Docks, running at the above location. The officers attempted to stop Docks, but he continued to run,” Officer Banks explained.
“One of the assisting officers drove into the area, and Docks ran into the path of his vehicle, the officer jammed his brakes to avoid hitting Docks, but his car slid into the passenger’s side, rear quarter-panel area of Vehicle No. 2 (2014 Nissan Altima). Vehicle No. 2 was unoccupied at the time of the accident,” she said.
A nearby witness captured part of the chase through Albany Mall’s lot on cellphone video, and posted it to social media. The video clip went quickly viral.
In the video, Docks can be seen running literally in a circle to avoid the Albany police cruiser that is trying to block him.
Docks eluded the first police car and took off running at full speed toward some parked cars across the parking lot, the video showed.
In the video, he was way ahead of an officer who was pursing him on foot.
Just then, another patrol unit driven by Albany Police Officer Matthew Brown appeared from the other side of the screen and took up the pursuit of Docks.
Docks continued running straight at the parked cars, the video showed, with Officer Brown hot on his heels.
In the video, the tires squealed as the officer turned the wheel, trying to avoid hitting both Docks and the parked cars. But his car slid right into a black Nissan Altima.
Officers continued chasing Docks and eventually captured him and took him into custody, WALB reported.
They also captured and arrested 27-year-old Stevenson Etienne and 20-year-old Windy Cavalier. All three suspects were charged with leaving the scene of an accident.
Docks was also charged with hit-and-run, obstruction of officers, possession of drug related objects, driving while unlicensed, and failure to obey traffic control devices, WALB reported.
Etienne was charged with identity fraud and obstruction of officers, and Cavalier was charged with possession of marijuana, according to WALB.
After the witness’s video was posted, the Albany police were hammered with criticism for the officer using his vehicle to chase the suspect.
Officer Banks told the Albany Herald that internal affairs was investigating the incident, and referred them to the city attorney for the dashcam video and further comment about the city’s policy on motorized pursuit of suspects who are on foot.
“The city absolutely does not have a policy which allows officers to strike suspects with their police cruisers,” Albany City Attorney Nathan Davis said. “In fact, as I understand it, these guys were involved in a crime, they started running and officers were trying to apprehend them. I have not seen the video (on social media), but I will see about getting ahold of the dash-cam video.”
On Wednesday afternoon, the Albany Police Department issued a statement that said Officer Brown had been put on paid administrative leave while the department investigated.
“The mission of the Albany Police Department is to develop our personnel to provide quality law enforcement services in an efficient manner that keeps the public trust while maintaining order in our community. Furthermore, the Albany Police Department is committed to a firm approach to crime. In this case, those efforts resulted in an accident. Fortunately, no one was injured, and three individuals, who are not from our city, are in custody with additional charges pending against them.”
Watch the police chase the suspect in the video below: