- The family of an 11-year-old boy who was killed when a car thief fleeing from police crashed has filed a lawsuit against the Chicago Police Department.
Donovan Turnage’s death on Dec. 21 was an “entirely preventable” tragedy that would have been avoided if police hadn’t given chase on a crowded street in the middle of the day, an attorney for the Turnage family said Monday.
Turnage, a student at Morrill Math and Science School, was thrown from his father’s SUV in Englewood when it was hit at 55th and Halsted by a stolen car that police say was being driven by serial offender Rockie Douglas.
Damned if you do, damned if you don't.
You might remember this as the offender carjacked three different vehicles at gun point across the city, fled after a crash, and was eventually apprehended in a drive-thru up in Wisconsin. Oh yeah - and he was white.
If we recall, the original call was an on-view armed carjacking. That isn't the sort of call that officers just blow off. If word got around that police won't chase you when you're committing armed carjackings, then you're going to get a shitload more armed carjackings. In fact, based on personal experience and personal knowledge, that's exactly what we've observed happening over the past few years - no fear of a chase leads to.....more fleeing/eluding!
And that's not even getting into the twisted arguments that will arise, "If you chase in the black community, but not in the white community, isn't that (insert racist conspiracy theory here)."
Society in general and the Department specifically, is going to have to come to terms with the fact that criminals flee. If they flee, the police are going to chase. And during a chase, people sometimes get hurt, most times by the person fleeing, who then bears the legal blame (except in narrow cases of deliberate disregard). But who ends up bearing most of the supposed liability? The police and by dint of being the "deep pocket," the city. This is unworkable. We'd rather see the FOP came out with a statement along the lines of...
- "We cannot in good conscience tell our members to chase criminals due to fact that they are placed in unreasonable jeopardy of losing their jobs, their homes and their very freedom should they engage in enforcing the laws of the State of Illinois, Cook County, City of Chicago. Until such time as the state legislature, county board and city council indemnify officers to the degree that good faith actions taken on the part of officers will not jeopardize their livelihood, you're on your own Chicago. Call Rahm, call Preckwindle, call Madigan. And get a gun - you'll need it."
...and let the political shitstorm erupt.
What happened to Donovan Turnage was a tragedy of unspeakable proportion. But to reflexively blame the police for the actions of a criminal is only going to embolden the next criminal. And the next. And the next. It's happening already if you look around.
Labels: we got nothing