- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 14, 2001

A diabetic man who was dragged from his truck by a police dog and doused with a pepper-like spray because police believed he was a drunken driver is being sued by the two Frederick County sheriff's deputies who pulled him over.
Deputies Eric J. Winer and Jeffrey A. Norris say complaints made by Frederick T. "Tom" Moore IV of Centreville, Va., have hurt their careers and caused them "severe mental anguish."
Their lawsuit states that as a result of Mr. Moore's "improper and perverted" actions after the incident, the deputies "suffered, and will continue to suffer … damage to professional and personal reputation, diminished enjoyment of life and loss of income."
The deputies are seeking more than $68,000 from Mr. Moore in the lawsuit, which last week moved to U.S. District Court in Baltimore. Mr. Moore had filed a $170 million lawsuit in federal court in October 2000, accusing the deputies of violating his civil rights.
Both lawsuits stem from a June 12, 1998, incident in which the two deputies "saved Mr. Moore's life and prevented injury to the other motorists on the roadway," according to Patrick McAndrew, the attorney representing Deputies Norris and Winer.
During the incident, the deputies chased Mr. Moore's Toyota truck about nine miles on Route 15 in Frederick County before they were able to nudge the truck off the road with their patrol car.
Upon being forced off the road, Mr. Moore continued to ignore orders. At that time Deputy Winer used his baton to smash the driver's side window of the truck and doused Mr. Moore's face with a pepper-like spray, the deputies' lawsuit states.
The lawsuit states that, "in an appropriate use of force," Deputy Norris and his police dog, with the help of a state trooper who had arrived on the scene, worked "to physically extract" Mr. Moore through the passenger's side of the truck while Deputy Winer reached through the broken driver's side window and used a knife to cut the seat belt.
Only after Mr. Moore was dragged from his truck and handcuffed by several police officers who had arrived on the scene, did anyone notice a card dangling from the truck's rearview mirror identifying Mr. Moore as a diabetic.
The deputies contend that upon noticing the card they immediately called for medical help. Mr. Moore spent four days in the hospital recovering from dog bites and bruises to his arm.
The incident prompted a local grand jury inquiry and investigations by the U.S. Justice Department and the FBI for possible civil rights violations. None of the probes led to criminal charges.
Neither of the deputies returned phone calls to The Washington Times, and Mr. Moore officially declined to comment on the case.
A lawyer close to the case, who did not want to be identified, said the deputies' lawsuit against Mr. Moore is a breach of something known as "the fireman's rule" in Maryland legal circles.
It's called that, the source said, "because a firefighter would not sue the owner of a burning building if the building collapsed on the firefighter while he was trying to put out the flames."
"The rule applies equally to police," the source said. "An officer would not sue a person who negligently caused an officer harm while the officer was performing his or her duties."
No such code of ethics restricts people hurt by police officers from suing the officers, though. Mr. Moore's multimillion-dollar suit against Deputy Moore and Deputy Norris is still pending with depositions on the case scheduled to be completed by Oct. 29.
Daniel Karp, a Baltimore lawyer defending the two deputies, said his clients should not have to pay any damages because there was no "unlawful action" in how they handled the incident. "They saw a driver obviously out of control going the wrong way," Mr. Karp said.
"They didn't notice the [medical] tag until after the incident was over," he said. "The claim is that these deputies should have been omnipotent and should have known that the man was not a lunatic or on drugs or a drunk, but actually suffering from a medical condition."
"Upon being stopped, Mr. Moore, apparently still experiencing his medical condition, did not respond," Mr. Karp said. "He maintained a very tight grip on the steering wheel, he refused to turn off the truck and he refused to respond to the officers, besides growling at them."

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