Man Claims Former Officer Left Him In Hot Car

Updated:

A Riverdale man is seeking $2 million from the city and a former police officer, accusing the officer of police brutality and the city of negligence.

Dexter Webb told Channel 2's Mike Petchenik that the June 2009 incident left him suffering from post traumatic stress disorder.

Man Claims Former Officer Left Him In Hot Car

"I'm scared," Webb told Petchenik.

Webb said he was minding his own business in front of a Riverdale apartment complex when then-city police officer Daniel Vanhee approached him and asked for identification.

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"I said: ‘What do you need my ID for,' and he couldn't tell me," Webb said.

Records show Vanhee arrested Webb for disorderly conduct and obstruction of an officer, but that prosecutors later dropped the charges because Vanhee had left the department and wouldn't be available for a court hearing.

Webb told Petchenik that, instead of taking him directly to jail, Vanhee drove him to a restaurant parking lot and turned up the heat in the cruiser to "teach him a lesson."

"It started getting real, real hot and stuff and I had the handcuffs on real tight," he said. "He kept me for a couple hours in the back of the car with the heater on."

Webb's attorney, Nicole Jones, gave Petchenik a large stack of complaints filed against Vanhee dating to the mid-1990s when he worked as a MARTA police officer.

State records indicated Vanhee also worked for the Roswell Police Department and as an officer for the Fulton County School Board.

Vanhee resigned from the Riverdale Police Department in July 2009, but according to the Georgia Peace Officers Certification and Training Council, his resignation was in lieu of termination for conduct unbecoming of an officer.

A POST representative told Petchenik the agency revoked Vanhee's officer certification.

"Every place that he was at, he did have complaints," said Jones.

Jones told Petchenik she is seeking damages from Riverdale Police because the department hired Vanhee despite his past and kept him despite continued complaints.

"He feels that he is above the law," she said.

Riverdale Police Chief Samuel Patterson wouldn't comment specifically on the allegations because of a possible lawsuit, but he assured Petchenik his department takes the hiring process seriously.

"We look for high-quality individuals, good backgrounds, no criminal history, good credit report," he said of the process.

Patterson said his department generally hires good quality employees.

"If we find that we've hired the wrong person, we try to take the appropriate corrective action," he said.

Channel 2 Action News learned that Vanhee has moved to California. Petchenik attempted to reach him for comment, but Vanhee didn't respond.

Jones said she plans to file a lawsuit Dec. 9 if Riverdale doesn't settle the case first.


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