NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — It’s been more than three years since Ralph Ward was held down at gunpoint and arrested for felony evading arrest, but it turned out police had the wrong guy. Now, Nashville has to pay up for the mistake.

“I just knew at that particular point they were going to just kill me,” Ward said as he described the tense moments he was surrounded by police with their guns drawn. 

On a November night in 2019, undercover officers from the Metro Nashville Police Department were tracking a car they believed had a homicide suspect inside.

According to the lawsuit, officers lost track of the car and began following Ward, who had just finished a long day at work when he stopped in to a liquor store close to his home in Nolensville.

The Nolensville Police Department helped Metro Police in the arrest, capturing body camera footage that showed what unfolded seconds after Ward was greeted by the cashier in the store.

“I looked back and the doors were flying open and all of these guns were drawn on me and I was just looking like, ‘What is going on?'” Ward recalled. “I just could not believe it and I’m just hearing everybody ‘Get on the ground, get on the ground, get on the ground,’ and I was like, ‘What, who, me?'”

The video shows Ward comply while continuously asking officers what he did wrong.

“The first thing that’s going through my head was ‘I’m not going to see my family for Thanksgiving,'” he said, worrying he was going to be the next hashtag calling for justice over police brutality. 

An officer can be heard in the body camera footage telling Ward, “We lit you up on 65 North.”

Ward adamantly explained that he didn’t travel that way, saying he had GPS proof on his phone.

“They weren’t hearing anything,” he told News 2. 

Ward was handcuffed and arrested for felony evading arrest. 

“Here I am with this felony evading arrest hanging over my head, my life, my livelihood, everything’s just hanging in limbo,” he said.

The criminal case was ultimately dropped some seven months later.

“It’s really been a very traumatic experience,” said Ward. “I don’t wish this on my worst enemy to actually have to go through.”

Ward still has a hard time believing this experience, which he decided to fight by filing a lawsuit against the Metropolitan Government and its employees, alleging Fourth Amendment false arrest, malicious prosecution, and excessive force.

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The Metropolitan Council agreed to settle the suit for $236,000 on Tuesday, Jan. 17.

News 2 reached out to the mayor’s office for comment, but the request was declined.

Ward lives full time in Texas now, but when he was living in Nashville, he had an organization that helped fund local charities.

He said he hopes that sharing his story will resonate with young Black men in the community and impact how officers handle cases in the future.