By Tony Hanson
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A Philadelphia attorney says he will file a civil suit against Drexel University and its campus police on behalf of a 44-year-old man seriously injured by a Drexel police car during a pursuit late last year.
According to the attorney, Robert Levant, his client was confined to a wheelchair for months and may never fully recover.
Levant says surveillance video shows a Drexel police officer slam his patrol car into the suspect, pinning him against a wall.
The university says Walter Johnson was suspected of attempted burglary, although those charges against him were later dismissed by the Philadelphia DA.
But Levant says nothing Johnson did warranted the use of potentially deadly force.
“Is that an appropriate use of police force? That is the inquiry here, that’s the issue of public safety. And if someone tries the door, for whatever reason, under no circumstances based on what you see on that video is it appropriate to run the person down with a motor vehicle,” Levant says.
The attorney concedes that Johnson has a significant criminal history and had walked away from a halfway house when this happened.
Drexel, in a statement, said in part that the officer immediately called an ambulance and the suspect was transported to the hospital. The university says it will make no further statements because of the pending legal action.
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