Deputy's Flying Tackle: Reasonable or Excessive Force?

Suspect's father says leap was use of excessive force

By Randy McIlwain
|  Thursday, Nov 18, 2010  |  Updated 4:40 PM CDT
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Footage from the dashboard camera of a Rockwall County Sheriff's deputy of a pursuit and arrest of <a title=Austin Guess." />

Footage from the dashboard camera of a Rockwall County Sheriff's deputy of a pursuit and arrest of Austin Guess.

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Father Questions Deputy's Flying Tackle

The parents of a 26-year-old man who led Rockwall deputies on an eight-mile chase say an officer's full-body tackle wasn't necessary.
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The parents of a 26-year-old Royse City man who allegedly led Rockwall County deputies on a seven-mile chase say it wasn't necessary to tackle him off his motorcycle before his arrest.

Deputies spotted Guess speeding on Interstate 30 near Rockwall on Sept. 16 and pursued him for seven miles.

Dashboard-camera video show Guess speeding and weaving in and out of traffic and even driving on the shoulder until he slows down and stops.

A patrol car can be seen pulling directly in front Guess' motorcycle. From the rear, a deputy goes airborne and knocks Guess off his bike. The officer's feet can be seen leaving the ground as he wrestles Guess down a sloped embankment, and another deputy joins him in placing Guess in handcuffs.

Guess' father, Terry, said the tackle was excessive force. He said his son had stopped and could have been given a verbal command -- even at gunpoint -- but the deputy instead chose to leap.

Terry Guess said he son was hit several times by "rabbit punches" to the kidney area that injured him.

Guess said he doesn't make any excuses for his son's behavior. He said his son is bipolar, which sometimes leads him to making bad choices.

A Rockwall County Sheriff's Department spokesperson declined to comment on specifics of the case except to say that the chase and arrest were reviewed according to policy and that the deputies did not violate county policy for chasing a suspect or for use of force.

Austin Guess three previous arrests for speeding, driving without a license and insurance and a previous arrest for attempting to evade police.

Guess remains in jailed and has a hearing next week. He is contemplating a lawsuit.

 

NBCDFW's Shane Allen contributed to this report.

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