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Plainfield Police Department sued after officer rams car, fires gun during traffic stop

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Posted at 6:15 PM, Mar 27, 2024
and last updated 2024-03-28 16:02:17-04

PLAINFIELD — The Plainfield Police Department is facing a federal lawsuit after an officer allegedly rammed his police unit into a teen’s car and fired shots at him.

The teen’s family is asking the department to make changes.

“God covered my son. It could have been very tragic, and it’s been life changing,” Cynthia Bandy said.

While leaving a McDonald's on US 40 in Plainfield in November, two teenage boys were pulled over by PPD.

The maroon Jeep Cherokee they were in matched the description of an armed robbery call of an employee, according to the federal lawsuit.

WRTV isn't naming the 17-year-old driver or showing his face because he is a minor.

“I roll my windows down, I pull my hands out and they instantly draw their guns on me and say, ‘Freeze.’ After that, out of nowhere, you felt a boom,” he said. “They smacked the back of my car and then you hear another shot. We rolled forward and the other police car hit us.”

Police also said the officer's car was not in park and crashed into a nearby bank.

Attorney Terrance Kinnard said the boys were unarmed.

Disciplinary documentation from PPD states the 20-year veteran, Sgt. Brian Bugler's, actions that day are "indicative of an inability to function while experiencing acute stress."

It goes on to say that the unintentional and negligent discharge of the firearm jeopardized everyone's safety and was not justified in any fashion due to compliance of the teens.

His termination was recommended.

The Use of Force Panel also noted due to the alleged armed robbery call, it would have been disastrous if the other officers responded to the sound of the gunfire.

"I would go as far to say if you look at the actions of law enforcement, I am surprised this didn't end in a tragedy," Kinnard said.

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"As a black man, that's something that can really scare you. Anytime, I'm driving now I've noticed my heart just sinks. I get scared," said the 17-year-old.

The teen's mother, Bandy, said the officers were out of line and asks the department for more training.

"We just want them to take accountability,” Bandy said. “They suggested for the officer to be fired, they did that quickly, but just take accountability for what you've done and retrain your staff if that's needed.”

"We are asking for change in police policy and some sort of acknowledgment of their wrongdoing," Kinnard said.

There is video of the incident. PPD declined to release it to the attorneys.