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LOCKPORT - A man who suffered a broken bone in his left foot when a police car ran over it shortly before his arrest filed a lawsuit against the city this week.
Connor J. Ennis, 20, of East Avenue, Lockport, did not specify an amount of damages in the suit filed in State Supreme Court by attorney Matthew T. Mosher of the firm of Viola, Cummings & Lindsay.
Officer Salvatore Licata, the driver of the patrol car in the May 31, 2011, incident, also was named as a defendant in the case.
The accident report by Lt. Douglas E. Haak said that Licata saw Ennis "attempting to enter a vehicle with passenger side window damage" in the city parking lot on Main Street next to Papa Leo's Pizzeria shortly before 4:30 a.m.
According to the police account, Ennis ran across the parking lot and was followed by Licata's patrol car. The cruiser's right front wheel ran over Ennis' foot when the suspect fell during the chase.
In a hearing Jan. 20 in which he was questioned by an attorney for the city, Ennis gave a different account.
According to a summary by attorney Paula M. Eade Newcomb of the Bouvier Partnership, Ennis testified that he and some friends had been drinking and using marijuana and cocaine in a downtown bar and in the apartment of Ennis' cousin that night.
Ennis said when his cousin noticed his cellphone was missing, he and Ennis decided to retrace their route from the bar.
Ennis claimed that his cousin was swinging his house keys on a lanyard, and the keys flew off his finger and crashed through the back window of a minivan in the Papa Leo's parking lot.
Ennis testified that he didn't go near the van, but his cousin opened a side door to look for his keys. Suddenly, Ennis said he heard squealing tires and saw his cousin start running, so he ran after him.
Ennis claimed he didn't recognize that the auto that entered the parking lot was a police car. He said that as his cousin got away, the car stopped on his foot and he fell and cut his head. Ennis said that he yelled at the officer that his foot was pinned, and the officer put the car into reverse to free him.
Ennis was taken by ambulance to Eastern Niagara Hospital, where an emergency room doctor said he had broken the fourth metatarsal bone in his left foot.
Ennis also was handcuffed to his hospital bed, as he was charged with obstructing governmental administration. He said the charge was eventually dismissed. A City Court official said Ennis' file was sealed, seemingly confirming the dismissal.

email: tprohaska@buffnews.com