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June 7, 2004

Norfolk Police Use Cruiser to Stop Man on Bike

From: WAVY-TV, VA - Jun 7, 2004

A Norfolk man, hit by a police cruiser early Monday morning is out of the hospital, but his family has many unanswered questions.

Police say officers spotted 35-year old Tronce Fitzgerald, of the 1000 block of Elkin Street, riding his bike on the sidewalk in the 900 block of Wilson Road around 1:30am. When they tried to get him to stop, officials say Fitzgerald would not the cruiser hit the bike, knocking him to the ground.

Fitzgerald's family says he did not stop for a reason - he is hearing impaired.

"He's deaf, he can't hear and he can't really talk that well," the man's niece, Latoya Fitzgerald told WAVY News 10. "So apparently the police started chasing him and he didn't stop, and if he can't hear you and you're behind him, he's not going to stop. He can't hear."

Chris Amos, Norfolk Police Department spokesperson, issued a statement Monday morning:

"We have no indication on any of our paperwork or that of the hospital that Mr. Fitzgerald is deaf. He had stopped at the request of officers and they were exiting their police car and approaching him when he took off."

Fitzgerald was released from the hospital shortly after 6:00am. His family says he suffered an injured leg and a broken arm.

Officials tell WAVY News 10 they were investigating complaints of drug activity in the area when they attempted to stop Fitzgerald.

Although family members tell WAVY News 10 Fitzgerald was charged with eluding the police, authorities say he was only cited for minor infractions related to his bike - riding on the sidewalk, not having a light, and not having his bike registered.

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