UPDATE: Former Benton Harbor officer faces charges for running suspect over
BENTON HARBOR —
A former Benton Harbor police officer faces up to 4 years in prison for his actions while on the job.
Officer Steven Johnson is charged with assault with a deadly weapon. The weapon used was not his gun. In this case the deadly weapon was Johnson's squad car.
Johnson is accused of purposefully running a man over, but his attorney says it was all an accident.
Johnson no longer works for the Benton Harbor Department of Public Safety. He was fired after an incident in the early morning hours of May 10.
Court documents say police were investigating a possible stolen lawn mower when officers came upon a man on a bike without a headlight, in violation of state law.
That man was 25-year-old Ronald Glover Jr. Documents say Glover refused to speak to officers, jumped off his bike and started running.
Documents then say Johnson ran Glover over with his patrol car.
Johnson's attorney does not deny that Johnson ran over Glover. But he says it was all an accident.
"This incident was an unfortunate accident,” said Marc Curtis, attorney for Steven Johnson. “Traffic accidents happen every day around this country and around the state. The question in this case is what was the intent of the time."
Court documents say dash cam video shows Glover was running away from the car when he was run over.
The Berrien County prosecutor says he is not releasing the video yet as the investigation is ongoing. And Johnson's attorney says video doesn't tell the whole story.
"This camera is a fixed focal point that's mounted in a cruiser that's looking straight ahead,” said Curtis. “It doesn't follow where the officer's looking at or take into the circumstances and the surroundings at the time as to what's happen. Just because It's on the camera doesn't mean that's what the officer was looking at or perceiving at the time."
Glover was taken to Lakeland Hospital where he was treated. He was then charged with resisting and obstructing a police officer and possession of marijuana with intent to deliver.
Officer Johnson was charged yesterday with assault with a deadly weapon. He posted bail and is expected back in court July 20.