Police in California’s capital of Sacramento are facing criticism after an officer with the SPD allegedly used his vehicle to run down a teenager attempting to flee a bicycle stop on foot.
The 16-year-old -who was riding his bike wearing sagging pants and no shirt- was stopped around 10 PM in Del Paso Heights on July 22, after police noticed he was riding a bicycle without a light.
Speaking to the young man, the officers asked him why he was nervous, following up with questions concerning prior arrests and warrants.
Fleeing from police on foot, he was pursued by dismounted police officers until vehicle units began arriving.
Attempting to turn in an effort to block the suspect’s path, one police SUV managed to understeer and slammed into the fleeing teenager, sending him flying through the air.
“Ultimately the investigation has shown that the collision was unintended,” SPD Detective Allen said in video released by the department and obtained by ABC News. “Due to the speed that the turn was initiated at, the officer lost control of the patrol vehicle and began to understeer. The officer did not regain control of the vehicle until moments before, or at the time the patrol vehicle came to a stop after the collision had already occurred.”
Ambulances were delayed due to a large gathering crowd, who shouted obscenities at the police, including one person saying “Now I see why y’all get killed.”
“There was a short delay in the response in the medical aid due to the officers having to facilitate the safe ingress of medical personnel and the egress with the suspect,” Detective Allen said. “This delay was due to officers having to maintain scene security due to a large crowd that had gathered.”
Police relations with Sacramento have been poor since the fatal shooting of Stephon Clark earlier this year, after police believed the prowler to be armed- only to find a cellular device.
The teenager repeatedly apologized after being hit, and was loaded up onto an ambulance for treatment. After being released from the hospital two hours later, he was cited for resisting arrest.
SPD Chief Daniel Hahn seemed ambiguous about his stance when asked about the incident.
“Clearly, this collision could have been tragic,” Chief Hahn said in a statement. “I am grateful the young man was not more seriously injured and that no one else was injured. Our training is designed to prevent this sort of thing from happening. We are going to make sure our training -and the officer’s adherence to that training- is as solid as it can be.”
The incident is under investigation.
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