The LA Weekly reports there may have been more to the viral news story of a motorcycle police officer who ended up with his legs in the air in the back seat of a BMW convertible after a traffic collision. Following an 18-month investigation, prosecutors have officially dropped the three misdemeanor assault charges against driver Brian Hitchcock after the man's lawyers discovered Hermosa, California officer Anthony Parente had a history of questionable accidents and hefty workers' compensation claims.
Hitchcock was charged with assault, reckless driving and a third misdemeanor after Parente accused the man of speeding in the parking lane, swerving in front of the officer and then jamming on his brakes once Parente hit his lights and sirens. The bike then struck the BMW, catapulting Parente into the rear seats of the vehicle. The two had been next to each other at a stop light moments earlier.
But Hitchcock reportedly maintained his innocence throughout the ordeal, saying he accelerated normally and never cut the motorcycle off. Eye witnesses corroborated his version of the story, and Hitchcock's lawyers found Parente had filed for workmans' compensation six times in recent years, three of which were in his four years with the Inglewood School Police Department where he served before joining the Hermosa Beach Police Department in 2005.
Furthermore, Hitchcock's lawyers discovered Parente had allegedly pulled a similar stunt with a cop car after ramming one Peter Brown. Brown's insurance paid Parente's claim. Hithcock's did not, with the man vowing to fight the charges tooth-and-nail in court. Parente, meanwhile, is currently on medical leave with workman's compensation for soft tissue damage some 20 months after the accident.