Chief gives few details, citing 3 investigations
Saturday, May 23, 2009
News staff writer
The January 2008 Birmingham police chase that ended with an unconscious suspect being beaten by five Birmingham police officers, and the firing of those officers this week, began after an officer witnessed a possible drug transaction, Birmingham police Chief A.C. Roper said Friday.
As the suspect, Anthony Shannon Warren, drove away, "the officer witnessed a traffic violation, so, of course, it is the officer's duty to pursue the suspect at this point," Roper said.
Roper's comments came in response to e-mailed questions from The News, asking for more details about the chase that ended with a wreck in Hoover in which Warren was thrown from his van and lay apparently unconscious while Birmingham officers beat him. Before the 22-minute chase ended, Warren's van struck a Hoover police officer.
Roper said he could not provide more detailed information about the incident, citing anticipated litigation and open investigations by his department and state and federal agencies.
"I'm sure other information will become available as we move forward," Roper said.
Yeah right...how convenient that there was a 'traffic violation' so the officer could try and pull the suspect over. Sure, drugs are illegal, but is what someone might be about to put in their own body enough justification to initiate a high speed chase through a major metropolitan area where tens of thousands of lives are put in jeopardy? NO! I think the BHAM police and ALL other police departments need to re-prioritize what justifies a high speed chase. That any police department would jeopardize so many people to stop one person from ingesting any substance is beyond the pale.