A Utah man claims an officer purposely struck him with a police cruiser as retaliation for not listening to commands, but the officer said he never hit the man.
Chad Scott Lockwood, 53, was riding his bicycle through an intersection July 28 when he alleges Unified Police Officer Christopher Schroeder came up behind him in his police cruiser and struck him with no warning.
Lockwood has filed a lawsuit against the officer in Utah’s U.S. District Court, alleging excessive force and illegal detention and arrest.
In audio of a news conference provided to The Tribune from FOX 13, Salt Lake County Sheriff Rosie Rivera — who oversees Unified police — said that she hasn’t seen any evidence her officer did anything wrong, adding Schroeder’s version of what happened that day is different from Lockwood’s.
The two men came across each other at the intersection of 2300 East and Evergreen Avenue about 10:45 a.m. Lockwood said he was wearing headphones and saw the officer when he went through the intersection.
According to Lockwood, the officer waved him by, and Lockwood waved back, saying, “Thank you.”
He alleged he traveled about 200 feet before the officer came up behind him and hit him with the police cruiser, knocking him over.
Lockwood was pinned under his bike, he said, and couldn’t get up because he doesn’t have a full range of motion in his arm from injuries he sustained years ago when he was hit by a train.
He alleges Schroeder “pounced on” him while he was pinned to the ground, and repeatedly hit and kicked him when he didn’t cooperate with the officer’s commands to get up and put his hands behind his back.
Lockwood said the crash bent a metal plate in his arm, and Schroeder exacerbated the damage to that arm by yanking him up off the ground.
According to the lawsuit, Lockwood believes Schroeder lost his temper when Lockwood misunderstood the officer’s wave and didn’t pull over.
Lockwood said he also believes Schroeder misinterpreted the wave and “thank you” as offensive.
“[Schroeder] probably believes, incorrectly, that [Lockwood] had disrespected him by ‘flipping him off,’ and mouthing a vulgar expletive,” according to the lawsuit.
Yet, Rivera said, in Schroeder’s report, he makes no mention of hitting the bike.
Instead, the officer wrote that he turned on his warning lights to pull Lockwood over after Lockwood ran a red light. He said he pulled in front of Lockwood so the man would stop, but Lockwood tried to go around the cruiser and cussed at the officer.
That’s when the officer said Lockwood hit a curb and fell over on his bike.
Rivera said her department has begun an internal investigation into the officer’s conduct, but for now, she said she stands by Schroeder, a 14-year veteran officer and has not placed him on paid leave.
“We want to make sure that our officers aren’t out there using excessive force,” she said. “But we’re also going to stand up when and officer is accused of these type of allegations, and there’s no evidence to prove it.”
Lockwood was arrested for multiple outstanding misdemeanor warrants that day. He was later released.
Editor’s note: The Salt Lake Tribune and FOX 13 are content-sharing partners.