Lake Worth, TX — In the ostensible land of the free, police officers will go to great lengths to enforce even the most arbitrary of “offenses.” Over the years, TFTP has reported on case after case in which police officers have beaten, maimed, and even killed people over ridiculous issues like seatbelts and bicycle lights. As the following case illustrates, police will even attempt to murder you over a license plate discrepancy.
Since November 2020, Dustin Bates of Denton County has been in debilitating pain as he recovers from fractured ribs, a broken leg, and a broken spine. His injuries, a result of Lake Worth officer Jonathan Granado’s attempt to murder him with his police cruiser — running him down at 45 mph — over a license plate error.
On the day in question, Granado was at a red light behind Bates when he randomly decided to run Bates’ license plate. After running the plate, either by mistake or for some other reason, Granado thought the motorcycle was stolen, so he initiated a stop. The motorcycle was not stolen.
Nevertheless, Granado initiated a traffic stop and for some reason — likely thinking he could outrun the officer — Bates made the poor decision to flee. He didn’t make it far, however, and as he attempted to exit on the off ramp, Bates lost control of the bike and laid it down.
After laying down the bike, Bates notices a police SUV speeding at him, so he tries to run out of the way. Unfortunately, Granado steered the SUV directly at Bates and plowed into him going 45 mph, severely injuring Bates.
Bates was unarmed and merely attempting to get out of the way of the SUV, according to the lawsuit, which was barreling at him at dangerous speeds.
“I was just trying to get out of the way of the patrol car,” Bates said in an August interview with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “And now I’m in pain every day.”
After plowing into Bates, Granado would tell his fellow officers that he tried to brake before plowing into him, but the grass was wet and he slid. After watching the video, however, it was entirely clear that Granado was lying but this didn’t matter to Granado’s fellow cops, who backed up his claims in their “investigation.”
What’s more, Bates’ lawsuit filed on Monday, arguing that a photograph taken at the scene showed that Granado’s SUV was not sliding through the grass out of control, but instead, the vehicle was driven directly at Bates, as reported by the Telegram.
According to the lawsuit, the brakes can only be heard squealing after the officer plowed into Granado.
After the incident, Bates told Lake Worth Officer James O’Bannon that Granado hit him with the car, and O’Bannon responded, “Probably shouldn’t have run. A lot of people think we can’t chase motorcycles. That’s wrong. We can and we will. Welcome to Lake Worth,” according to the lawsuit and an officer’s body camera.
According to Texas law, however, a motorcycle pursuit is only authorized if the officer has a reasonable belief that the suspect, if allowed to flee, would present a danger to human life or cause serious injury. Granado has no such belief.
Bates was later charged with evading arrest and drug possession and those charges were later thrown out by prosecutors.
Despite dashcam evidence showing a crime had been committed, the “investigation” by police into themselves was enough to convince a grand jury not to indict Granado. Instead, he was suspended for two weeks for reckless driving and quietly resigned in December.