A police officer in Birmingham, Alabama was assaulted when he pulled over a suspect on Friday.
According to AL.com, a detective pulled over a 2012 GMC Yukon in the 9100 block of Parkway East around 11:05 a.m. He told the suspect to stay in the vehicle as he approached. He was waiting on a unit for backup.
Despite the officer’s demand, the driver got out of the vehicle and asked the detective why he had pulled him over. A tussle began and the suspect assaulted the detective.
Though reports say the officer was pistol-whipped, Lt. Theophilus Smith couldn’t confirm.
The detective called over his radio for all available units to assist him immediately around 11:15 a.m. He was then taken to a hospital with trauma to his head.
Around 1:00 p.m., the officer was fully awake after being evaluated and was expected to recover. He was later released from the hospital.
The police that arrived at the scene of the traffic stop continued to chase the SUV about one mile away.
Police set up a perimeter near Shadywood Lane and Shady Wood Drive. W.J. Christian School was put on lock down, which was later lifted.
There were officers and U.S. Marshals on the scene. Police dogs were brought in to help with the search.
Two suspects were taken into custody and questioned by police.
According to WVTM 13, Janard Cunningham, 34, was charged with attempted murder. The second suspect was not charged with a crime.
Cunningham has prior convictions that include unlawful breaking and entering into a vehicle, robbery and second-degree assault.
Jefferson County District Attorney Brandon Falls said Cunningham made comments indicating that recent tensions between police officers and citizens was a partial motivation for his assault.
“My understanding is, that he just, because of what was going on around the country he felt like had to act in an aggressive manner, did so, and unfortunately an officer was severely injured in the situation,” Falls said.
Cunningham is being held at Jefferson County Jail with no bond. The police officer’s identity was not released.
“This incident underscores the danger that our officers and others experience everyday. I think about the recent murders of the Memphis and Shreveport police officers and recognize we too could have lost an officer today,” said Birmingham police Chief A.C. Roper to AL.com. “We ask the community to keep this officer and his family in your thoughts and prayers.”