On Wednesday, across the street from the KIRO Radio studios, Seattle police responded to reports of a red car on the sidewalk. They ran the plates and found that the car was stolen. As they surrounded the car with guns drawn while telling the driver to get out, the driver took off down the sidewalk.
It was against police policy for the officers to pursue in this case, as Seattle Police Department Sergeant Randy Huserik explained to KIRO Radio.
“Public safety being paramount, we have to factor in time of day, weather conditions, the activity of both vehicular and pedestrian traffic in the area,” Huserik said. “Then, of course, we have our pursuit policy in the SPD manual — that dictates when and when we cannot pursue a vehicle, and in this in this circumstance, our pursuit policy did not allow officers to go after that vehicle.”
KIRO Nights host Jack Stine says he’s of two minds about this situation because he gets that some people are saying this is a densely populated area, and if the police opened fire, they could potentially hit someone else.
“But at the same time, you have a sociopath who’s willing to drive on the sidewalk to try to get away from police,” Stine said. “Do you see where the nuance comes into this? If there’s a situation where you’re going to pursue somebody, mayhaps the circumstance where someone is driving on the sidewalk where they could potentially hit and kill somebody would be the situation you would pursue.”
Producer Shane agreed, and says the video looks like the driver found a cheat code, as if they were playing “Grand Theft Auto,” to avoid the police by driving down the sidewalk.
“It makes me upset that SPD kind of had their hands tied in that situation,” Shane said, adding that if he were an officer, he would have wanted to do more than just stand there and watch it happen.
The whole scene reminded Jack of a TV show, “Deadwood,” set in the Wild West.
“It reminded me very much of the Wild West, where if you didn’t want to listen to what the sheriff was telling you or the constable was telling you, walk away,” he said. “‘I’m not going to do it. What are you going to do? Shoot me?’”
“When other criminals see that, what are they supposed to think? If I know that you’re not going to pursue me in a stolen car, … [I’ll] drive away. You’re not going to pursue me or do anything about it,” Jack said. “So why not just drive away and then no one’s going to bug me.”
When you make a city habitable for criminals, Jack says, you’re just going to get more criminals.
“But at the same time, if that cop had decided to go full Rambo and light that guy up, guaranteed you probably would have killed somebody right on the opposite side of that glass,” he said, referencing the glass windows of the storefronts that line the sidewalk.
“SPD is in a really difficult position. I get that,” he added. “And so I’m of two minds about this, but it’s so disappointing that they can’t actually do anything about it.”
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