WEST MEMPHIS, Ark. - The West Memphis Police Department released new dashcam video of the chase that led to a deadly shooting involving multiple officers.
That video evidence was presented to a grand jury and prosecutors decided not to file charges against the six West Memphis officers who fired their weapons, killing two people.
The city-wide police chase came to an end when one of the officers was run over and six others fired several shots.
The 22-year-old woman in the driver’s seat and the 30-year-old man were killed. They were identified as Megan Rivera and DeAngelo Brown.
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It all started around 9:30 p.m. on Jan. 16, 2019.
A police officer tried to pull over a vehicle that he said had high beams on and no license plate. The driver wouldn’t stop.
Instead, police said she increased her speed to 95 miles per hour at one point.
“Ninety-nine percent of our population will pull over to the side of the road when an officer pulls behind them. When that doesn’t happen, officers start to wonder what’s going on,” said WMPD Chief Robert Langston.
More officers joined the pursuit at that point, and seconds later, so did an Arkansas state trooper. The pursuit lasted around 10 minutes across the city.
Police tried to pop the car’s tires and tried to box the car in repeatedly. Most attempts were unsuccessful.
After successfully boxing the car in near North 18th Street, officers then went up to the car and started to bang on the windows.
Police told investigators they could hear the passenger telling the driver to “go.” That is when the driver took off again, ran over one officer and six police officers brought the chase to an end.
Rivera and Brown both were pronounced dead at the scene.
Investigators found a .22 caliber rifle and crack cocaine in the couple’s car. The internal investigation into whether officers followed pursuit policy is still ongoing.
Officers later learned that the suspects’ vehicle was taken from a 72-year-old woman in a carjacking on Dec. 16, 2018, in South Carolina.
The two suspects were also being investigated in South Carolina for unrelated criminal offenses at a liquor store and a jewelry store. Both suspects were wanted for shoplifting in South Carolina at the time of the incident.
A former captain with the Shelby County Sheriff’s Department reviewed the footage with FOX13. He said his main concerns are about the police tactics, but the officers were justified in using deadly force.
“They had some bad tactics, there was a potential for crossfire,” said Bennie Cobb, who is now a crime analyst. “They put themselves in harm’s way when they got out of the vehicle and surrounded it.”
However, Cobb did say once the officer was run over by the suspects’ vehicle, the officers were justified in using deadly force.
Another topic Cobb brought up was the length of the pursuit, and why officers continued to follow the suspects with limited information.
West Memphis police said it’s because they wouldn’t stop even though stop sticks flattened a tire and state police got involved.
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