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A pregnant woman's car was flipped over when an Arkansas police officer completed a PIT maneuver on a highway

A police officer in Arkansas flipped a pregnant woman's car on a highway in July 2020, believing she was evading him after speeding. The woman was actually attempting to pull over safely, her lawyer says, in accordance with the state's driving laws. (Image: screenshot)

'Unequivocally Deadly': Cop Flips Over Car of Pregnant Woman Who Didn't Pull Over Fast Enough

"Not only is what she did not wrong," said one observer, "it's what you're supposed to do: turning on hazards to indicate you're complying and pulling over at the next safe place."

Julia Conley

Police dash cam footage that began to go viral Wednesday has sparked outrage as it showed a state trooper in Arkansas forcing the SUV of a pregnant woman driver—who claims she was was trying to find a safer place to pull over—to crash and roll over during an attempted highway traffic stop in July of last year.

"A person who was obeying the law could have been killed along with her unborn child, all thanks to a veteran police officer not knowing the law he is meant to enforce, or being unable to resist performing a dangerous and unnecessary maneuver." —Erin Marquis, Jalopnik

Nicole Harper, who was two months pregnant when Senior Cpl. Rodney Dunn attempted to pull her over, filed a lawsuit against the Arkansas State Police last month, accusing the agency of negligence and excessive force. 
 
The dash cam footage shows Harper reducing her speed and turning her emergency flashers on after Dunn began trying to pull her over for allegedly driving at 84 miles per hour in a 70 mile-per-hour zone. Harper said the shoulder on the stretch of highway she was driving on was too narrow to safely pull to the side. 
 
According to the Arkansas Driver's Manual, a driver who's being pulled over is supposed to "activate your turn signal or emergency flashers to indicate to the officer that you are seeking a safe place to stop," but Dunn waited just two minutes and seven seconds after turning on his siren before treating Harper as a fleeing suspect, pulling up to the side of her car and nudging the left side. 
 
The Precision Immobilization Technique (PIT) maneuver caused Harper's vehicle to swerve into a concrete median and flip over. 
 
"What was done on Miss Harper was unequivocally deadly," Harper's attorney, Andrew Norwood, told Newsweek.
 
According to NBC News, Harper feared she had suffered a pregnancy loss after the crash, but her doctor later confirmed that her unborn child was safe and her daughter was born earlier this year. 
 
Dunn, who is still on the force and has worked as a highway patrol officer since 1994, charged Harper with fleeing after confronting her at the scene of the crash. 
 
"Why didn't you stop?" Dunn is heard asking Harper in the dash cam video.

"Because I didn't feel it was safe," she responds, to which Dunn replies, "Well, this is where you ended up."

According to Jalopnik, "most precincts leave whether to chase a suspect or driver or not up to their officers' discretion" and data shows police agencies that give officers more freedom to decide when to give chase have higher rates of chases. 
 
"In this instance," wrote Erin Marquis at Jalopnik, "a person who was obeying the law could have been killed along with her unborn child, all thanks to a veteran police officer not knowing the law he is meant to enforce, or being unable to resist performing a dangerous and unnecessary maneuver."
 
Harper and her attorney told Newsweek they hope their lawsuit will result in changes to the Arkansas State Police's policies regarding PIT maneuvers.
 
On social media, critics expressed outrage at the viral dash cam video.
 
"The officer's action's are attempted murder," tweeted author Geraldine DeRuiter. 

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