Woman Allegedly Shot In The Head By Police During Car Chase In Incident Described As Excessive Use Of Force

by Gee NY
Sherita Harris says her life was wrecked by a police bullet that hit her in the head. Image credit: Imani Khayyam for NBC News

Sherita Harris, a Mississippi woman, is suing the Mississippi Department of Public Safety (MDPS), the Mississippi Capitol Police Department, and two individual officers, Michael Rhinewalt and Jeffery Walker, for $3 million in damages.

Harris alleges that excessive force was used, resulting in a gunshot wound to her head during a traffic stop in August 2022.

According to a report on the suit by People, Harris was a passenger in a car stopped at an intersection in downtown Jackson.

The officers activated their emergency lights, commanding the driver to pull over. Allegedly, Officer Rhinewalt began shooting at the car, prompting the driver to flee to escape the gunfire.

Later, the driver found Harris slumped over with a bullet wound to her head.

Harris underwent surgery to remove bullet fragments from her head and spent approximately three to four days in the hospital for recovery.

The complaint states that due to the excessive force and unauthorized vehicle chase, Harris suffers severe complications with speech, gait, and overall cognitive abilities.

The legal filing accuses the officers of assault, battery, and gross negligence, along with inflicting emotional distress on Harris. It also alleges that MDPS failed in training and supervising the two officers.

In a statement to local news station WAPT, MDPS mentioned they would not comment on matters regarding pending litigation.

Officer Walker testified in a September 2022 hearing that they attempted to pull over the car after it failed to stop at a red light. Walker stated that when he approached the vehicle, the partner yelled about being shot at, and gunshots were fired.

The officers were not equipped with body cameras, and the vehicle did not have a dashboard camera. Harris has said the incident has handicapped her for life, and she feels she’ll never be the same.

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