Rockford, IL — Crossing the road in a manner unfit for the police state can and will get you extorted, beaten, or arrested. As a recent case out of Rockford, Illinois illustrates, it can also get you run over, hospitalized and ticketed.
According to police, 58-year-old Beverly Horton was crossing the road last week when she was struck by a Rockford Police Department squad car. Horton was hit so hard that she had to be transported to a nearby hospital and remains in the hospital in critical but stable condition.
The officer was transporting a man to a local hospital and was on duty when the accident occurred. After the officer ran over the woman—as if running her over wasn't punishment enough—he then cited her for improper walking in the roadway.
The area where Ms. Horton was struck is residential and has heavy pedestrian traffic. The speed limit is only 30 miles per hour on portions of the road, which is arguably slow enough to see someone crossing the street and slow down.
However, as TFTP has reported on numerous times, police officers are involved in a very high number of accidents because they are either driving dangerously for no reason or distracted while responding to a call.
Luckily for Horton, she was not killed as police crashes often turn out deadly for those involved. As TFTP previously reported, on average, one person every day is killed by a police officer driving a car.
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.
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What's more, as this case illustrates, to alleviate their liability, police will often times charge the victims with the crime—even when they did nothing wrong.
Joan Raye, 78, is lucky to be alive after a Franklin County Sheriff's made the dangerous decision to speed over 80 mph through a neighborhood and plowed into her vehicle. In spite of the fact that the deputy hit her, however, just like Horton, this poor elderly woman was charged with a crime for his negligence.
According to the sheriff's department, Raye failed to yield to the deputy who was traveling well above the posted speed limit on his way to an officer in distress call. The deputy's concern for his fellow brother in blue appeared to clearly outweigh the safety of the countless families and bystanders he put at risk driving at such a high rate of speed through the residential area.
Because the deputy was traveling at such a high rate of speed, the elderly woman did not see or hear his lights and sirens and when she saw the chance to take a left turn onto her street, she did.
"It got clear. I could go. Then he hit me in the side," Raye said. "It's a wonder I wasn't killed."
Police crashes are so common that there is an advocacy group who is trying to fix this problem.
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 the second month of 2017 approaches 200 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.