On April 1, 2011, Dallas Police Officer Eric Watts went to check out a report that vehicles were racing in an area near Stemmons and Northwest Highway.
Watts reportedly saw an orange Nissan peel out of a parking lot, narrowly missing another car, turned on his lights and siren, and gave chase in violation of department policy prohibiting pursuits for traffic violators. The driver ignored the sirens and didn't stop until he became stuck behind a line of cars at an intersection. Watts stepped out of his squad car, drew his weapon, and told the driver to get out of the car.
The driver smiled, stepped on the gas, and drove away, running over Watts' foot in the process, the officer claimed in a report. The man was arrested shortly after and charged with aggravated assault of a public servant, except that, when DPD reviewed Watts' dash cam, they concluded the Nissan never touched him.
Watts was indicted in May for allegedly making a false statement during a criminal investigation. The criminal case is pending, but an Internal Affairs investigation is over and found that Watts violated DPD policy by initiating the chase, gave "inconsistent, conflicting, and/or misleading statements regarding a police incident," and generally bringing "discredit to the department," particularly once the media got involved.
And this, from DPD's press release:
"Officer Watts' actions are particularly disturbing because the false information he provided led to an arrest of the driver for a felony charge that carries a possible prison term of 5 to 99 years."
Watts had been with the department since 2005.
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