Though investigators did not find that the officer acted maliciously, they did find that he failed to control his vehicle when taking a sudden turn at a high speed.
One of the basic rules of a law-abiding society is that people shouldn’t flee from the police, whether they committed a crime or not. There’s a reason, after all, why ‘fleeing from the police’ is a crime in so many parts of the United States; fleeing makes the situation more dangerous for everyone, both the officers who have no idea where a criminal is fleeing (or why), and for the criminal.
A 16-year-old individual found this out the hard way in Sacramento, California, when he fled local police, resulting in a chase that ended with him being hit by a Sacramento Police Department SUV. Now, citizens are angry, and police are looking to change policies, due to what began as a bike violation but ended with a 16-year-old youth being run down by a cop, but the chief of police is ‘grateful’ that no serious injuries resulted.
The whole incident began when Sacramento Police pulled over a 16-year-old teenager on July 22. The officers stopped the individual, who was riding his bicycle, because he didn’t have any light on the bike he was riding late at night.
The original stop occurred in Sacramento’s Del Paso Heights neighborhood, in the northeast part of the city, at around 10 p.m. local time.
The video of the stop shows the officer talking to the youth, before he suddenly takes off on foot.
The officer who had been speaking to the youth gave pursuit on foot, and called for support, which came in the form of a second officer who was driving a police SUV in the area.
In the video, the officer can be seen chasing the suspect in his SUV, turning left suddenly, and hitting the teen with the vehicle.
The collision, which allegedly occurred at 27 miles per hour, even tossed the teen in the air.
The video showed the officer exiting his vehicle and handcuffing the teen, who was swearing at him and then switched to repeatedly shouting “I’m sorry” at him.
Luckily, the fleeing suspect suffered only minor injuries in the collision.
Sacramento Police Chief Daniel Hahn said that the collision “could have been tragic” in a statement made to the public.
He also said that the way the officers train is designed to make sure exactly this kind of thing didn’t happen, and even seemed to suggest that there would be some sort of review of training to ensure things like this didn’t happen again.
The SPD blamed the collision on understeer, and presented a diagram to show how the vehicle didn’t turn as the officer assumed it would.
Lavar Washington, a family member of the teen who allegedly witnessed the collision, told Sacramento ABC affiliate KXTV that he didn’t think the collision should’ve ever occurred in the first place.
Detective James Allen of the Sacramento Police said that there was a slight delay in response time for the medical response team, which occurred due to the large crowd that gathered around the scene of the accident.
Almost immediately after the collision, bystanders in the neighborhood can be heard making comments demanding to know why police hit the kid with their car, and someone in the crowd can even be clearly heard shouting “now I see why y’all get killed.”
After being released from the hospital two hours later, the teenager was given a citation for resisting arrest.
Detective Allen said that the investigation ultimately showed that the collision was an accident, and that the officer lost control of his vehicle due to the speed he was traveling at when he initiated the turn.
Still, this collision, accidental though it may be, is not likely to help police relations in the city of Sacramento, California.
Such relations are already poor due to the shooting of Stephon Clark, who Sacramento police caught when he was breaking into homes and cars in his own neighborhood.
Officers caught up with Clark in the backyard of the house he was staying at since his latest release from prison, which happened to be owned by his grandparents.
There, instead of complying with their orders to put his hands up, he turned around with something in his hand (according to the officers), which caused them to fire.
Later, it turned out he was holding a cell phone.
Still, the shooting angered many in the city, and led to widespread protests and to the creation of a petition, which has more than 100,000 signatures, demanding criminal charges for the officers involved.
It is not likely that the officer will be formally charged in the incident. However, one particular question that remains is what, exactly, caused the youth to run from the police.
At this point, he’s gotten a charge for resisting arrest and nothing else. However, having a light out on a bike is not a serious crime; it’s a minor fine. The only reason to flee from an officer for such a stop is if there’s some other crime involved, something that comes with a penalty greater than a minor fine.