Lionel Womack is a former Kansas police detective who was run over by a Western Kansas deputy in August. He is now suing the Kiowa County Sheriff’s Office after a dashcam video of the incident recently surfaced online.
On Thursday, December 17, the 35-year-old filed an excessive force lawsuit accusing Kiowa County Sheriff’s deputy Jeremy Rodriguez of purposely running him over on August 15 following a traffic stop, The Associated Press reported.
Womack was returning home from a California business trip when a highway patrol officer in Western Kansas chased him over “an alleged traffic violation,” the outlet continued. Deputies from Pratt and Kiowa counties joined in on the chase, The AP said.
Newly revealed dashcam video shows a shirtless Womack running through a field at night while a patrol truck trails closely behind — eventually plowing him over. Womack said he sustained serious injuries from the incident, The Associated Press said.
The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court in Kansas, argues the deputy was “callously indifferent” to Womack’s civil rights, the outlet continued.
Rodriguez is still on patrol, The Associated Press said.
Here’s what you need to know about Lionel Womack:
1. Womack Was Not Speeding or Driving Under the Influence When He Was Pulled Over, He Told the Associated Press
Womack told The Associated Press he was not speeding or driving under the influence when he was pulled over in August.
His driver’s license and registration were also up to date, he added, according to the outlet.
“When the first officer turned his lights on, I pulled over and complied … exactly as you’re supposed to. But when three additional vehicles pulled up quickly and started to surround my car, I freaked out,” the former detective said, The Associated Press disclosed. “That’s when I took off, it was a ‘fight or flight’ moment and I was going to live.”
“I felt like I was in danger. This was out in the country, late at night, and it was dark,” he added. “So I ran for my life. That’s what you see in the dashcam video. I’m running in an open field, and I’m scared.”
2. Womack Is in Jail on Felony Charges of Attempting to Elude Police & Several Traffic Violations, According to the Media and Online Court Records
Womack is currently in jail “on felony charges of attempting to elude a law enforcement officer by engaging in reckless driving and interference with a law enforcement officer,” The Associated Press said.
He is also facing several misdemeanor traffic citations, “including failure to drive in the right lane on a four-lane highway, improper signal and driving without headlights,” the outlet continued.
Womack’s attorney told The AP that his client is still in jail due to an outstanding arrest warrant out of Oklahoma.
On August 12, he was charged in Texas County, Oklahoma with endangering others while eluding or attempting to elude police, according to court records obtained by the news outlet.
3. Womack Comes From a ‘Law Enforcement Family’
Womack stems from a “law enforcement family,” The Associated Press explained.
His wife, Zee Womack, and mother are Kansas City, Kansas Police Department officers, while his stepfather is a retired sergeant, the outlet said.
His two aunts are also police dispatchers, according to The AP.
Womack left the police force in early August of this year to pursue his passion of “growing his own security business,” The Associated Press continued.
4. Womack Says He Still Believes in the ‘Blue Brotherhood’
According to The Associated Press, Womack says he still has faith in the “Blue Brotherhood.”
He told the outlet that, while he believes most officers are good, injustices still need to be addressed.
“We have to hold law enforcement accountable when they cross the line,” Womack expressed to The AP. “These rogue law enforcement officers give a bad name to the good officers, and we have to stop them. I never imagined that I would someday be the victim of excessive force by a fellow law enforcement officer. He could have easily killed me.”
5. Womack Met His Wife More Than a Decade Ago When They Joined the Kansas City, Kansas, Police Department
Zee Womack told KSHB that she met her husband more than a decade ago when they joined the Kansas City, Kansas, Police Department.
“(He was) silly, kind of intense; He was really big on working out,” she said of the former police detective, according to the station.
Womack said to The Associated Press that she was shocked by the August dashcam footage surrounding her husband. Any officer who shows such behavior should not be in the force, she added, according to the outlet.
“To me it showed a blatant disregard for human life,” Womack said, The AP continued.