On Aug. 19, two people were killed by the subject of a brief Los Angeles Police Department pursuit, and amid their families’ call for accountability, police have released the dash cam footage showing the moments leading up and following the deadly collision.
The pursuit, which last just over one minute, left Janisha Harris, 35, and Jamarea Keyes, 38, dead when their BMW was struck by a 2006 Cadillac STS that was “speeding and committing additional traffic violations,” police said in a release after the crash.
“However, because the driver of the Cadillac refused to stop and continued to accelerate away from the officers, the officers turned off their police vehicles’ emergency lights and siren, indicating they would no longer be attempting to stop the vehicle,” LAPD Capt. Kelly Muniz said.
The crash occurred less than five seconds after the sirens and lights were turned off.
Jasmine Mines, an attorney representing the Keyes and Harris families, said the newly released video shows inconsistencies with LAPD’s initial account of events.
“Even though the sirens were off, the officers were clearly still in pursuit. Initially, the LAPD officers stated they retreated and there were 15 seconds from the time they retreated to the time of the collision that ended in fatality. LAPD stated they were not engaged in any chase,” Mines said.
On the day of the crash, Officer Jefferey Lee said that “police activated their traffic lights to do a traffic stop. Officers did not chase them or go in pursuit.”
However, the dash cam video shows the officers following the Cadillac through at least four intersections with their lights and sirens on.
After the crash, the driver and three others tried to flee, but they were unable to get away.
Matthew Sutton, the 20-year-old who was behind the wheel, faces multiple charges including two counts of vehicular manslaughter, two counts of fleeing a pursuing officer causing death, and a count of hit-and-run.
Police said Sutton was going at least 68 mph through the intersection.
The Harris and Keyes families plan to put their trust in the justice system to hold Sutton accountable, but they believe the LAPD’s conduct needs to be addressed.
“I just want them to own up to what they did and just give justice because, at the end of the day, you have two innocent people that lost their lives to something that could have been prevented,” said Tanya Keyes, Jamarea’s wife.
The LAPD said in their briefing they are still in the early stages of their investigation, which could take months to determine if officers acted consistently with the department’s policy.