Bystander Injuries and Deaths from Police Driving at High Speed are Skyrocketing


A teary-eyed Yolanda Salvador looks out the window sitting in her son’s room.

He would have been 25 years old, probably graduated from college and on his way to building a successful photography career, had he been alive.

Julio Reyes-Salvador lost his life two years ago in an accident that left his car looking like a crushed soda can.

On that fateful day he was on his way to Pasadena with a friend to take pictures for a homework assignment.

The pair was waiting at a traffic light, when a Chevrolet Tahoe travelling at more than 80 mph smashed into his Toyota Corolla.

The full-size SUV was being chased by the police. Ironically the officers were pursuing him for reckless driving and arguably, he became even wilder with the cops hot on his heels.

Julio once a full-of-life young man has become a statistic like so many others, but in his death he has highlighted a crucial issue. Police chases on public roads often end up harming innocent onlookers.

An analysis by renowned newspaper the Los Angeles Time shows that LAPD pursuits cause twice as much innocent bystander injuries than the rest of California.

In the eight-year period between 2006 and 2014 a whopping 334 onlookers were injured. That means at least one innocent person gets harmed for every LAPD chase.

The city has an extensive network of thoroughfares and highways, which are busy most of the time. This puts a lot of lives at risk in a police pursuit.

Although LAPD blames the mesh of roads for the casualties, there are experts who say it is the nature of the department’s policies that are responsible.

It takes a relatively minor transgression to invite officers at your tail in Los Angeles.

Even Julio’s mother says the police are to blame in part for her son’s death.

“They shouldn’t have been chasing him,” she says.

“They knew there were other people around that could get injured.”

A decade ago California authorities tried to remedy the situation by introducing tougher sentences for people fleeing from the police, additional training was also provided two officers.

This progress was the result of a three-year struggle by Candy Priano, founder of Pursuit Safety – a nationwide not-for-profit.

She created the organization after the death of her 15-year-old daughter at the hands of another teenager who was being chased by the police for taking a mother’s car without permission.

Speaking of the incident and her initiative Priano says she is determined to push for reforms.

“Before it happened to me, I never even worried about it.”

While the change in legislation in 2005 seemed to achieve almost instant results at first, the relief turned out to be short lived.

The number of uninvolved casualties dropped from 376 injuries statewide to 172 in the five-year period between 2005 and 2010. However, the number rose by at least 51 per cent – in 2014, around 260 innocent victims were injured in police pursuits.

Compared to the rest of the state LAPD police has a rather low threshold for initiating a chase.

The LA Times reports that the LAPD has the highest rate of bystander injuries caused by police chasing people.


Via the LA Times

Other departments such as those in San Francisco, San Jose and Long Beach allow officers to chase motorists who present an immediate danger to the public or a suspected of violent felonies. On the other hand, LAPD policy dictates that cops can chase a vehicle if they suspect any kind of felony or misdemeanor.

Yolanda Salvador will never get her son back, the driver of the Chevrolet 22-year-old José Arrellano was sentenced to more than 27 years in prison – he pleaded no contest to his charges, which included evading police while causing the death.

“Getting one bad person can sometimes cause the death of a good person and not only their death, but it changes a whole family,” says Yolanda.

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Filming Cops
Filming Cops 5618 posts

Filming Cops was started in 2010 as a conglomerative blogging service documenting police abuse. The aim isn’t to demonize the natural concept of security provision as such, but to highlight specific cases of State-monopolized police brutality that are otherwise ignored by traditional media outlets.

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