Police determine officer was driving at ‘unsafe speed’ when striking teen

"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.”

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Police investigators in Sacramento recently determined that an officer was traveling at an unsafe speed when his department-issued SUV collided into a teenager fleeing on foot. According to police dash cam and body cam videos, the 16-year-old was physically ambushed by the officers for riding his bicycle without a front light.

Around 10 p.m. on July 22, Sacramento police officers pulled over a teenager without informing him of their reason for stopping him. As the officer on the passenger side began interrogating the teen, he exited the patrol car and began approaching the teen identified only as “Daniel.”

“You ever been arrested before?” the officer asked in the recently released police videos.

“You have a warrant against you?” the driver of the patrol car asked.

Instead of issuing a citation for riding without a front light, the officers immediately pounced on the teen who dropped his bicycle in panic and fled on foot. A few seconds later, a police SUV responding to the officer’s radio call for backup suddenly drove into the teen before colliding into a parked car in the driveway.

Placed in handcuffs, the teen repeatedly screamed in pain before being transported to a local hospital. He was charged with resisting arrest.

“Clearly, this collision could have been tragic,” Sacramento Police Chief Daniel Hahn said in a statement on Friday while releasing the police audio and video. “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 investigation has determined that the speed is the primary reason the incident occurred,” police Det. James Allen said in a video released by police Friday. “The officer was traveling at an unsafe speed for the attempted turn. This unsafe speed resulted in a loss of control.”

According to Det. Allen, the unidentified driver did not intentionally crash into the teenager and simply lost control of his vehicle because he was driving too fast. But the dash cam video clearly depicts the police SUV aiming at the teen in the moments before the impact.

“He got smacked by a car. That’s a deadly weapon right there,” the teen’s mother told KCRA.

According to Chief Hahn, his department has requested the Multidisciplinary Accident Investigation Team (MAIT) of the California Highway Patrol to review their investigation to “ensure that it is thorough and comprehensive.”

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