The Los Angeles Police Department is investigating after two people were killed last week in South Los Angeles in a crash with a car that was the subject of a police pursuit only seconds before the collision.
The fatal crash was part of a four-vehicle pileup near Manchester Avenue and South Broadway at about 5:30 a.m. Aug. 19.
Janisha Harris, 35, and Jamarea Keyes, 38, died after the BMW in which they were riding was struck by a 2006 Cadillac STS that was “speeding and committing additional traffic violations,” police said in a news release.
Police had been chasing the Cadillac for one minute and six seconds, though officers turned off their lights and siren to indicate that they were no longer in pursuit.
Moments later, however, the driver ran a red light and hit the BMW.
On Friday, the department said in a press release that dash camera footage and body camera footage would be released in accordance with the wishes of the victims’ families.
“The Los Angeles Police Department extends our deepest condolences to the families of Jamarae Keyes and Janisha Harris whose lives were senselessly taken in a traffic collision at the intersection of Manchester Avenue and South Broadway by the reckless actions of a fleeing motorist,” the release said.
The families, however, are speaking out and placing a share of the blame at the feet of police.
“And they say that the suspect driver was engaged in high-speed driving… And that would mean if they’re following them then they, too, would be high-speed driving,” said Jasmine Mines, an attorney representing the families. “Based on that, we considered the potential that that was negligent on the police’s part and reckless as it could result in fatalities, which, unfortunately, it did here.”
“Loving kind gentle… I miss him tremendously and I’m seeking justice for my son,” said Sandra Green, Keyes’ mother.
“And it’s just so heartbreaking for me… Having sleepless nights,” said Patrice Matthews, Harris’ mother.
The driver of the Cadillac, 20-year-old Matthew Sutton of Los Angeles, faces multiple charges including felony vehicular manslaughter and fleeing a pursuing peace officer’s motor vehicle causing death.
Three other people were in the Cadillac at the time of the crash, and all four have been connected to a string of burglaries in Camarillo and Moorpark, officials said.
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