A police officer in Miramar, Florida suffered severe injuries after being attacked by a criminal who was supposed to be under house arrest early Friday morning.
Police have released the dashcam video but have not released the officer’s name. Here’s what happened.
“The driver was driving recklessly. The officer attempted to pull the vehicle over,” said Tania Rues.
She’s the spokeswoman for the Miramar Police Department.
Rues said she wasn’t sure where the officer was when he first noticed the driver, but said he saw the vehicle again at a shopping center on the 6800 block of Miramar Parkway.
“The driver was attempting to use the ATM machine,” she said.
His car was parked nearby.
In the bodycam footage, you can see the incident begins calmly. Morris walks towards the officer with his hands up. He’s wearing a hooded Nike sweatshirt and seems compliant and soft spoken as he approaches the officer.
“I’m just taking my girl to get something to eat and I’m going to the ATM,” Morris said.
At that point, he told the officer that he didn’t have a valid driver’s license. He said he had identification in the car and offered to go get it. The officer told him to wait while he ran some information.
For a moment, Morris leans against the hood of a car… then takes off.
He jumped into the vehicle and started to drive off just as the officer ran up, grabbed the driver’s door handle and opened the door of the vehicle.
At that point, you hear tires screeching and the bodycam video goes blurry and all over the place.
“The driver of the vehicle hit the officer,” Rues said.
The officer, who has been with the Miramar Police Department for a little more than two years, was rushed to Memorial Regional Hospital in Hollywood.
His injuries are serious, but he’s expected to survive.
The officer had been taking part in the police department’s body camera pilot program.
“We are looking through the video and trying to exhaust the investigative leads we gather from the video,” Rues said.
By Friday afternoon, police had arrested 20-year-old Johnny Lee Morris Jr., who they say is the man who hit him.
According to Rues, he is facing charges of aggravated battery on a law enforcement officer, leaving the scene of an accident with injuries and providing a false name to law enforcement.
Morris, a Miami resident, entered into a plea deal less than a month ago for a slew of charges, including a car chase with Miramar police.
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He was sentenced to two years of house arrest to be followed by four years of probation.
In the plea deal, Morris appeared before a Broward Circuit Judge on June 27 and pleaded no contest to robbery, burglary, false imprisonment, fleeing and eluding, reckless driving, resisting without violence and operating a vehicle without a valid license, records show.
That all goes back to an arrest on Sept. 13, 2016.
A police report shows that Miramar police had been alerted to be on the lookout for a white Nissan Altima that had been involved in an iPhone robbery.
When they spotted the Altima and tried to pull it over, it took off – speeding through neighborhoods and eventually crashing into a guardrail.
Morris and his passenger made a run for it.
Morris was later arrested in the front yard of a home.
How did he get caught? He had picked up a 4-year-old child who was on the enclosed back patio, and told him “shh” until the child bit him. He then hid in a clothes dryer and then tried to force his way in to the house, police said.
The woman who lived there shut the sliding glass door on Morris’ foot and called 9-1-1.