We cover plenty of stories of alleged malfeasance on the part of police officers, some totally legitimate and others less so. This is particularly true in Chicago, where they’ve probably had more than their share of bad apples managing to get behind a badge over the years, though the vast majority of officers remain dedicated public servants. The Windy City has seen questionable, if not outright horrible cases of police shootings and other forms of abuse, but one recent case saw the cops being blamed for something which just seems patently ridiculous.
Officers responding to a reported crime spotted 18-year-old Demaszjae Miller and two of his friends allegedly breaking into a series of cars. As soon as the teenagers saw the cops they bolted. Unfortunately, they ran into the street with oncoming traffic and Miller was hit by a civilian’s car. He died from his injuries, but some of the locals blamed his death on the police and began tearing up some police cars and equipment. (CBS Chicago)
An 18-year-old from Aurora died after he was hit by an SUV while running from police Friday night.
Police said Demaszjae Miller and his two friends matched the description of three people reportedly breaking into cars on Taylor Street. They bolted after being spotted by police.
That’s when an SUV hit Miller as he tried to cross Highland Avenue, killing the teen.
Authorities call the situation a tragedy but deny playing any role leading to his death.
According to official reports, the cops hadn’t had time to do more than arrive. Miller and his friends saw them and bolted. The police (who supposedly have body camera footage to check) weren’t even pursuing them. They were just standing there and Miller ran out in front of a car. In what scenario is this the fault of the police unless you don’t want them showing up to investigate reports of crime at all?
While it’s obvious that nobody should get the death penalty for breaking into some cars, if the boys weren’t doing anything wrong, why would they run when the cops arrived? Also, it sounds like the driver of the SUV had no time to react, so this was strictly an accident to begin with.
And how did the family and neighbors respond? One squad car parked outside the hospital where Miller was taken was so badly damaged that it had to be towed away. Some of the family members being in grief over the loss of their relative is certainly understandable, but that’s a serious lack of restraint. And it wound up the rest of the neighborhood to the point where people were calling for the police who arrived at the scene of the car break-ins to be arrested.
As I noted above, there are definitely cases where the police in Chicago (and other places) have used horrible judgment or, in some cases, flat out murdered people. But unless the body cam footage can prove otherwise, this is not one of those cases. We can’t just automatically blame the police and begin tearing up the town before any of the facts are known. And those engaging in criminal activity have to take some responsibility for situations such as this.