Mainstreet, USA — A shocking report, out of USA Today, shows just how dangerous being an innocent bystander can be when there is a police chase going on.
On average, according to the report, one person every day is killed during a high-speed chase.
To put this into perspective, that’s larger than the number of people killed by floods, tornadoes, lightning and hurricanes — combined.
Contrary to popular thinking, high-speed chases aren’t only dangerous for those involved. Innocent bystanders are all too often the victims of these reckless pursuits.
According to the report, more than 5,000 bystanders and passengers have been killed in police car chases since 1979. Tens of thousands more were injured as officers repeatedly pursued drivers at high speeds and in hazardous conditions.
Aside from the 5,000 completely innocent lives lost, an additional 6,300 fleeing ‘suspects’ were also killed, bringing the total to 11,506 dead since 1979. Even this shockingly large number is likely an understatement, according to the report. The Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) uses police reports to determine if a crash is chase related, and many of the reports do not disclose that a chase had occurred at all.
Earlier this month we reported on the story of Bill McIntyre, who was mowed down by a police officer as he was leaving a bar.
In June, Detroit cops refused to stop the pursuit of a man who led them into a neighborhood where children were playing. Police forced the man to lose control and sent him flying into a yard occupied by two young children, Mikiah and Michael Angelo Jackson. They were killed instantly.
Why were police dangerously pursuing a man into a residential area? The suspect had failed to show up for his parole meeting.
These incidents made the news, but how many other fatalities go unreported altogether?
As is the case most of the time, these dangerous and reckless high-speed chases are often over minor traffic infractions or misdemeanors. In their relentless pursuit to generate revenue for their departments, police are waging a dangerous war in the streets of cities across America. These often deadly battles in the revenue generation war are ironically carried out in the name of your “safety.”
According to a report from the International Association of Chiefs of Police and the National Institute of Justice, a whopping 91 percent of high-speed chases are in response to non-violent crime; most of which involve only minor traffic infractions.
Only a very small fraction of these cases involve a kidnapping or murder suspect, or an instance in which a dangerous high-speed chase would be warranted.
But innocent bystanders aren’t the only ones affected by these dangerous drivers, the cops themselves are as well. In fact, of the 68 police officers killed in the line of duty in 2015, 29 of them involved automobiles.
So what’s the solution?
If police stop dangerously chasing down criminals then the criminals will begin committing crime on a massive scale as they know the police won’t pursue them, right?
Not really, but Milwaukee Police Detective Michael Crivello, who is president of the city’s police union, would like you to believe that. “When crooks think they can do whatever they choose, that will just fester and foster more crimes,” says Crivello.
Unfortunately, there are criminals in this world who need to be removed from society. In order to remove these criminals from society, sometimes it requires risk. But when the risk begins to outweigh the perceived threat society faces from said criminals, something has to be done.
At what point does the total number of deaths of innocent men, women, and children become too high to justify the risk, 20,000, 50,000, 100,000? If one innocent life is lost in the pursuit of a criminal, this is a travesty of justice.
It is more important that innocence should be protected, than it is, that guilt be punished; for guilt and crimes are so frequent in this world, that all of them cannot be punished…. when innocence itself, is brought to the bar and condemned, especially to die, the subject will exclaim, ‘it is immaterial to me whether I behave well or ill, for virtue itself is no security.’ And if such a sentiment as this were to take hold in the mind of the subject that would be the end of all security whatsoever. -John Adams
The good news is that this information is quite compelling, and people have already begun to take action to stop the slaying of innocence.
A national non-profit group aptly named Pursuit Safety, is successfully advocating for policy changes that prevent officers from recklessly engaging in high-speed pursuits over virtual non-crimes.
The market is also responding to the crisis and has brought forth the star chase system. Instead of haphazardly launching into a chase with an individual, police can tag their car by firing a compressed air ‘tag’ which allows them to immediately track a fleeing vehicle. Of course, there are 4th Amendment issues if these tags were put to use by corrupt cops, but it’s a start.
Even the police themselves have been forced to bring their dangerous driving records into question.
As the death toll for 2015 approaches 671 for those who’ve been killed by police, it’s time we speak up for the lesser known innocent victims of law enforcement. Share this article with your friends and family in hopes that we can start to save a life every day, instead of ending one.