A controversy that began in March reached a new level this week with a lawsuit filed against the City of Opelika.
March 6 was the day OPD Officer Phillip Hancock responded to reports of an erratic driver on Interstate 85. In the events that followed, shots were fired at the driver, Airman Michael Darrett Davidson.
Davidson has now filed suit against the city. The city issued a statement Tuesday.
“Regarding the lawsuit filed by Michael Davidson, the City and the Opelika Police Department are saddened that Mr. Davidson was injured,” reads the release, signed by Police Chief John McEachern. “Our thoughts and prayers are with him, and we wish him a full and speedy recovery from his injuries.
“At the time of the incident, Officer Phillip Hancock was discharging his duty as a police officer and in response to a citizen’s call for public assistance,” the release continues. “We believe that Officer Hancock and the City responded in a reasonable and lawful manner.
“We take seriously the allegations in the lawsuit. We believe the proper place to disclose the facts of this case is in the courtroom, and we look forward to that opportunity. Once due process is allowed to unfold, we are certain that there will be a better understanding of this situation.
“As an organization, the Opelika Police Department is committed to holding itself to the highest of standards to provide the citizens of Opelika an environment where they can live, work and play free from crime and the fear of crime. We are committed to enhancing the safety and security of our citizens by providing effective and efficient law enforcement.
“The Opelika Police Department is committed to professionalism in all aspects of its operation. We recognize that the manner in which the Department conducts business must be consistent with professionally accepted practices and ideals, including, and most importantly, the use of deadly force.”