After the incident involving Phillips and Trooper Seals, Seals continued the pursuit of the suspect according to the filings, Seals offered to call for an ambulance for Phillips, but he declined the offer. Phillips later sued the Troopers and the Highway Patrol for negligence in their hard-and-fast apprehension of Phillips, claiming they had a reckless disregard for his safety.
Phillips did suffer some minor physical injuries as a result of the Troopers alleged negligence by Phillips. Phillips’ complaint reads,
Plaintiff suffered serious and lasting injuries, including but not limited to lacerations to his face, nose, chin, and ears, contusions to and swelling of his eyes, and a broken tooth. Because of the trauma inflicted upon Mr. F. Charles Phillips, he has and is, experiencing mental and emotional stress. Also, as a result of this stress by this incident, Mr. F. Charles Phillips has suffered a heart attack.
The complaint goes on to say,
The residual effects of the plaintiffs injuries are lasting in nature and have cause the plaintiff to experience plain and suffering, an emotional, mental, and psychological distress and loss of enjoyment of life.
Phillips went on to demand $500,000 in damages.
The ruling states,
“The defendant tendered the testimony of Charlie Simms, former Chief of Police for the City of Hattiesburg, who testified as an ‘expert’ that Trooper Seals clearly was justified in assuming Phillips was the ‘suspect’ because of the stark similarity of his vehicle with that of the suspect, and his disobedient actions, which enhanced the officers’ belief that he was the subject of their attention.”
Former HPD Chief and 2013 FCSO Candidate Charlie Sims further stated,
“not only did Phillips not comply with his departmental policy in pursuing a suspect in an unmarked vehicle, he did not have the right equipment under Mississippi Law to engage in a pursuit thus endangering himself and others.
Sims also testified that,
“Troopers Seal and Little completely followed appropriate law enforcement procedures in securing a suspect believed to ahve been one to have committed a crime in an adjoining county and that the securing of the suspect is the first priority given the ‘totality of the circumstances.'”
Judge Helfrich ruled that Phillips,
“was tacitly engaged in ‘criminal activity‘ at the time of his injury. In Mississippi it is a criminal act to engage in emergency vehicular operations without the right equipment or vehicle. (M.C.A. 63-3-517); to fail to yield to emergency vehicles (M.C.A 63-3-809); and to refuse to comply with a police officer request (M.C.A. 97-35-7). Given the testimony, the plaintiff impeded the pursuit of the correct suspect.
Helfrich ruled against Phillips stating,
“Phillips though unwittingly with the best of intentions, inserted himself into a situation that amounted to his violation of law.
Judgement for the defendants. All Court documents are embedded below for your entertainment. to read more about Phillips in appropriate behavior while conducting an election click here.
Phillips’ Expert Witness
MDOT Expert Witnesses