And he was almost made into mincemeat…
Controversy is swirling around an August 5 incident in St. Paul, Minnesota which involved a 16-year-old speeding in a Dodge Charger and the methods Ramsey County Sheriff’s Department used to try bringing the pursuit to an end. More specifically, the sheriff deployed a Stop Stick while the Mopar was doing 140 mph on a narrow city street.
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Everything started when a deputy saw the red Dodge Charger with no plates attached. When the teen suspect saw a cop behind him, he started hauling at 120 mph down Maryland Avenue. Later, law enforcement determined the Mopar was indeed stolen.
What people are arguing about is the choice of the sheriff to deploy a Stop Stick to bring the chase to a close. Most are upset that further down the road the suspect got into a horrific accident with two other cars. Thankfully, nobody was reportedly injured. However, plenty of armchair quarterbacks think they know what should have been done differently.
A Stop Stick training video says law enforcement should “use extreme caution when” deploying the device if “pursuits reach excessive speeds.” That doesn’t mean they can’t be used, just that the risks understandably increase when someone is going really fast, like this Charger blowing through at 140 mph.
Officers are trained to use Stop Sticks from a safe distance and somewhere they can safely observe the suspect’s vehicle as well as other cars on the road. It’s preferable if they have a solid object between them and the suspect, just in case they swerve to hit the officer. Sadly, this has happened many times.
In this video, the sheriff isn’t standing behind any cover, but he is coming from a side road, which is better than parking on the shoulder. He throws the Stop Stick at the last moment. In his defense, it’s hard to judge a vehicle’s speed as it’s coming towards you, so he likely thought he had more time to set up. His exclamation when the Mopar blew past says it all. And afterwards he said he’d never seen a car traveling that fast before in all his years in law enforcement.
It doesn’t appear the Stop Stick even made contact with the Charger’s tires. Slowing down the video, it looks like the Stop Stick didn’t even contact the pavement until the Dodge blew past, making it an unsuccessful deployment. Considering the suspect didn’t lose control or stop right after seems to back up this assessment. Still, some want to believe the Stop Stick deployment caused the crash several blocks away.
Everyone will have an opinion about whether or not the sheriff should’ve been using a Stop Stick in this situation. The thing is law enforcement has to make split-second decisions all the time, often putting their own lives on the line in the process. Until you’ve been there, it’s difficult to entirely understand what that means. Still, everyone is entitled to their opinion on this and other situations. Sadly, had the sheriff’s department opted instead to pursue the suspect instead of relying on a Stop Stick, it would’ve been criticized for that. Same thing had they just given up on going after the suspect entirely. What they might not know is the same car was involved in an armed carjacking the night before, so the assumption was the suspect was armed and dangerous. Letting someone like that get away poses a serious risk to the public. You just can’t make everyone happy.
Check out the video shared by MN Safety.
Source: CBS News