Kent Police disappointed in bystanders after cruiser rolls over officer

Vivian Feke

The Kent Police Department is concerned about the public’s use of social media after a police cruiser rolled over on top of an officer early Sunday morning and no bystanders took action.

According to Lieutenant Michael Lewis, administrative lieutenant for the Kent Police department, Officer Mitch Smith was patrolling downtown early Sunday morning when he saw a man kicking and punching another man on South Water Street. Smith got out of his cruiser, took the suspect down to the ground, and as he was wrestling with the suspect, his own cruiser began to roll forward and over his leg.

The cruiser struck Smith twice; the front and rear tire rolled over the back of his right knee.

Kent Paramedics treated Smith at the scene. He was then transferred to University Hospital’s Portage Medical Center where he was treated and released. 

“As far as why the vehicle was rolling forward, it’s still a mystery,” Lewis said.

Kent police cruisers are set up for the emergency sirens to turn off when a vehicle is put into park. After reviewing several videos that bystanders posted online, Kent police believe the car was in neutral or it slipped into park as the emergency sirens were not going off in the videos.

Lewis said he would never want a bystander to put themselves in harm’s way, but he’s disappointed in the crowd watching the incident for not taking any action.

“It’s only been a few years since Chris Kernich was murdered on East Main Street downtown, a similar type of incident, where bystanders could have done something, they could have intervened,” Lewis said.

Lewis called Smith an outstanding officer and one of the city’s most active. Smith has been with the department for about a year and a half after previously working at another police department.

Smith is resting at home and expected to return to work in a couple of days.

Vivian Feke is the digital content director for TV2. Contact her at [email protected].