Waterloo, IA — In April of 2015, Jovan Darnell Webb was out with friends celebrating the fact that he had just passed his commercial driver’s license test. What was a night of celebration and happiness, however, quickly turned into a horror story when police in civilian clothes showed up.
Now, because the officers were never held accountable for their actions, the taxpayers of Waterloo are being held to the fire for $400,000 in an excessive force lawsuit.
According to police, that night, an altercation at the New World club broke out, which Webb was not a part of, so he decided to leave. When police responded to the scene, the altercation was already over.
Webb, who had broken no law, harmed no one, and who was merely trying to avoid being caught up in a mess that he had nothing to do with, got in his car to go home. But thanks to the Waterloo police, Webb would not make it home that night.
As he attempted to pull out of the parking lot, a man dressed in plainclothes knocked on his driver’s side window with a black object, according to the lawsuit. Webb then pulled out to get away from the man who he had no idea was a cop.
The police claim that Webb attempted to run over an officer, so they were forced to shoot him. But surveillance video from two cameras at the New World club does not show this.
What the video from the two cameras does show, however, is a Waterloo cop in civilian clothes chasing after Webb while firing multiple shots into the car, in a crowded parking lot.
The video shows frightened onlookers dive to take cover as Officer Thomas Frein and Mark Nissen unleash a hail of bullets seemingly unconcerned for the safety of everyone around them.
Police bullets struck Webb five times; twice in his arm, two struck his abdomen, and one penetrated his chest. Still in fear of being killed by the madmen shooting at him, Webb continued to Allen Hospital where he was handcuffed by Waterloo officers. Webb suffered a collapsed lung, two bullets are still in his body, and he must use a machine to help him breathe.
Attorney Mark Loevy-Reyes of Loevy & Loevy in Chicago, who represented Webb, said Webb wasn’t posing a threat to police or others. He also said authorities lied about what happened to cover up an unjustified shooting. Apparently the rest of the department felt the same way, as Webb was not charged with a crime until much later.
In order to escape jail for crimes he did not commit, Webb made a plea deal in 2017 to misdemeanor charges of assault on an officer, interference and carrying weapons. Under the plea, he didn’t admit guilt but acknowledged he would likely be convicted if the case went to trial.
Webb’s lawsuit alleged excessive force, battery and failure to intervene on the part of other officers at the scene.
Webb was not a criminal; he is a decent 27-year-old man who was preyed upon by negligent officers looking to harass him.
Of course, the officers said that they feared for their lives, but put yourself in Webb’s shoes for a minute. Don’t you think he feared for his life after witnessing a huge brawl and then getting in his car only to be met by an unknown man tapping on his window with a possible gun?
By all moral standpoints, Webb was the only one who can legitimately claim he feared for his life as he was the only one facing down armed aggressors who were trying to kill him.