It almost turned into minced meat…
The controversy revolves around an August 5 incident in St. Paul, Minnesota that involved a 16-year-old speeding in a Dodge Charger and the methods used by the Ramsey County Police Department to try to end the stalking. More specifically, the sheriff posted a Stop Stick while Mopar was traveling at 140 mph on a narrow city street.
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It all started when Vice saw a red Dodge Charger with no plates attached. When the teen suspect saw a policeman behind him, he began pulling at 120 miles per hour down Maryland Street. Later, law enforcement determined that Mopar had indeed been stolen.
What people are arguing about is the mayor’s choice to deploy a stop stick to end the chase. Most of them are upset because the suspect had a terrible accident with two other cars. Fortunately, no one was hurt. However, many armchair quarterbacks think they know what to do differently.
A Stop Stick training video states that law enforcement should “use extreme caution when” deploying the device if the chase “reaches excessive speeds”. That’s not to say they can’t be used, just that the risks are understandably increased when someone is going too fast, like this charger exploding at 140mph.
Officers are trained to use Stop Sticks from a safe distance and somewhere where they can safely monitor the suspect’s vehicle as well as other vehicles on the road. Preferably between them and the suspect a solid object, just in case they swerve to hit the officer. Unfortunately, this has happened several times.
In this video, the sheriff isn’t standing behind any cover, but he’s coming from a side road, which is better than standing on the shoulder. Throws the stop stick at the last minute. In his defense, it’s hard to judge the speed of the car as it’s heading toward you, so he probably thinks he has more time to prepare. His admiration when Mopar blew past says it all. After that, he said he had never seen a car go so fast before in his years of law enforcement.
The Stop Stick does not appear to contact the charger’s tires. Slowing down the video, it looks like the Stop Stick didn’t connect to the curb until I got past the Dodge, making it an unsuccessful deployment. Given that the suspect did not lose control or stop immediately thereafter, it appears to support this assessment. However, some want to believe that posting a Stop Stick caused the crash several blocks away.
Everyone will have an opinion on whether or not the mayor should use a Stop Stick in this case. The thing is, law enforcement has to make split-second decisions all the time, often putting their lives on the line in the process. Until you’re there, it’s hard to fully understand what that means. However, everyone has the right to express their opinion on this situation and others. Sadly, had the sheriff’s department instead chose to pursue the suspect rather than rely on the Stop Stick, it would have been criticized for it. The same that they just gave up on the whole suspect’s pursuit. What they may not know is that the car itself was involved in an armed car robbery the night before, so the assumption was that the suspect was armed and dangerous. Allowing such a person to escape is a serious danger to the public. You cannot make everyone happy.
Watch the video shared by MN Safety.
Source: CBS News
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