Did a Nevada, Iowa, police officer deliberately need to run down a knife-wielding man? Eric Peterson’s family is claiming that their son had not threatened police and the deliberate attack on Peterson by a police vehicle was unwarranted.
Eric Peterson is the knife-wielding man you will see in the following video behaving strangely running on top of a police cruiser and then running after the cruiser.
The Nevada police department claims that Peterson was a threat to the officers involved in the incident, which is why they ran him down. The video is from the dashboard video cameras of the two squad cars.
Peterson’s family claims that the video clearly shows that the police cruiser deliberately had to veer to the left in order to hit Peterson. It does appear in the video that is precisely what happened.
The family said that “Eric did not attack either officer,” and did not threaten them. Officers said when they arrived at the scene that the man began to run toward their squad cars.
“Ultimately, the suspect was hit by one of the police vehicles as the suspect was running towards the officers with the knife,” said Police Chief Mike Tupper.
Witness to the incident Teresa Phillips said, “the cop floored it into the parking lot and hit him.” It does appear in the video that the squad car sped up as it approached the man.
Peterson’s family released a statement to the media saying in part, “Eric did not attack either officer. Eric did not try to get into either police car. He was holding a knife but not brandishing it.”
“He did jump on the hood of the first police car and ran onto the roof and over the vehicle but his actions were not an attempt to gain entry to the vehicle.”
“As that car drove away, Eric was chasing it on foot, and not likely to be able to catch it. The second police car arrived, and appears to purposefully strike Eric.”
The second squad car did have a cracked windshield from its impact with Peterson.
The family’s statement continued, “Eric is mentally ill and his actions are not always within his voluntary control.”
“Nevada police officers, including the two involved in this incident, are well aware of Eric’s mental illness.”
“We do not want to place blame at this time, but we want to ensure that all of the facts of the case be distributed on Eric’s behalf.”
The following video depicts graphic violence. Do not watch if you think you may be offended:
An air ambulance flew Peterson to Mercy Medical Center in Des Moines, and he remains there in critical condition.
The Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation is investigating the incident.