Philadelphia judge suing the Plymouth Township Police Department and an officer in federal court

Roxanne Covington, who serves as a judge of the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, filed a federal lawsuit on April 16th in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania involving the Plymouth Township Police Department and Police Officer Douglas Wells. The lawsuit stems from an October 2022 incident that involved police attempting to stop a vehicle that had been involved in a carjacking and kidnapping in Philadelphia.

According to a review of the lawsuit in The Pennsylvania Record, Covington “asserts she was subject to civil rights violations and unlawful arrest and detention, when a Plymouth Township police officer used her vehicle as a barricade to stop a suspect they were chasing and was allegedly not disciplined for doing so.”

From The Pennsylvania Record:

“On Oct. 9, 2022, Judge Covington, a Judge of the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas, was operating her vehicle on Ridge Pike, in the direction towards Plymouth Meeting, when Officer Wells, traveling in the opposite direction towards Philadelphia on Ridge Pike, crossed the double yellow lines into the opposing traffic and drove towards Judge Covington, to slow her down. Judge Covington slowed down in response to Officer Wells, who then returned to his lane of traffic, stretched his hand out of his window, signaled Judge Covington to stop, and pulled up next to Judge Covington, stopping Judge Covington. Within seconds of Officer Wells stopping Judge Covington, Judge Covington was violently struck in the rear by a vehicle operated by a suspect that was being chased by other police officers,” the suit says.

“Officer Wells unlawfully stopped and detained Judge Covington, using Judge Covington’s vehicle as a barricade to stop a suspect that was being chased by police officers. As Judge Covington reacted to the impact to see what just struck her vehicle, the passenger in her vehicle screamed, ‘He’s got a gun’, referring to Officer Wells who now had drawn his service weapon and pointed it in the direction of Judge Covington and the passenger in her car. Judge Covington yelled at her passenger to get down, after she saw from the passenger side view mirror, someone getting out of the passenger side of the vehicle that struck her and thought maybe there was going to be a shootout with police by occupants of that vehicle. Office Wells then came around Judge Covington’s vehicle from the front towards the vehicle that struck her.”

The suit adds that Judge Covington then “moved her vehicle, pulled into a driveway, moving out of the way of the police activity behind her and waited for Officer Wells or any of the other officers at the scene to approach her, but no one did.”

“After about 25 minutes of waiting, Judge Covington exited her vehicle and walked back to where the officers were standing behind the vehicle that struck her. She told them that the person they were chasing just struck her but none of the police officers came to her side; yet Officer Wells was very much aware of this because he stopped Judge Covington’s vehicle to barricade the suspect. One of the officers responded that the person they were chasing was involved in a carjacking and kidnapping in Philadelphia that involved a 12-year-old. Judge Covington responded that that did not make it OK to use her car as the barricade to stop that vehicle. Judge Covington asked Officer Wells why he had stopped her, and why didn’t he use his police vehicle as the barricade to stop the suspect, but Officer Wells did not respond,” the suit states.

You can read the full review of the case from The Pennsylvania Record here.