A Miami Police Officer was involved in a serious automobile accident on Wednesday with a 19 year old pre-med student who also lives in Miami. The student was taken to Kendall Medical Center with nine life threatening Injuries. There is some controversy surrounding the accident involving whether or not the officer had his sirens on.
Investigators say that the officer was responding to a call and had his lights and sirens engaged at the time of the impact with the female student. However, witnesses to the collision have a different version. Orestes Perdigon, the student’s father stated that, “He had no sirens on, nothing at all.” Apparently, the student had the right of way as the officer may have drove through a stop sign just before impact.
This Miami incident follows a similar occurrence just days ago, when a Middle School Student was badly injured after being struck by an Orlando Police Officer in pursuit of a criminal. The officer was chasing another vehicle who ran a red light when suddenly, the Officer collided with a Volkswagen which careened into the 11 year old student who was waiting to cross the street. According to one woman, the officer was exceeding the speed limit. “It looked like it was a chase to me”, said Celine Gasco, 33 who was stopped in her car at an intersection when the collision took place. Once again, as with the incident in Miami, Orlando investigators appear to be claiming, despite the eyewitness testimony, that the officer did nothing wrong.
Law Enforcement Agencies must provide better training to their officers on the issue of pursuing Criminals. While most Police Departments, like the Orlando Police Department, have a policy which only allows a high speed chase when the officer is in pursuit of a violent felon, Police Officers often violate the local traffic laws and injure innocent citizens. These Officers are performing their job in a vacuum because they are not weighing the interests of the innocent bystander when they pursue non-violent criminals.
Under Florida law, this constitutes Negligence and subjects the Police Department and the Police Officer to a lawsuit so that the injured bystander can collect for their Injuries. It would be in the public’s best interest if some of these officers were to spend less time in the gym and more time in the library. While a majority of police officers are fine individuals who act professionally while doing their job, there is a percentage of officers who are unable to see the big picture and often do not have their priorities in order. This often leads to incidents like the ones we just saw in Miami and Orlando where innocent bystanders suffer Injuries as a result of the Officer’s Negligence.