If the Police Can’t Catch their Criminals, They’ll just Kill Them Instead

Photo of police car with lights flashing

Two Dead at the Hands of Lazy Cops in Kent County

In the Greater Grand Rapids Area, the police have now twice used a dangerous car chase maneuver against an unarmed, fleeing individual, leading to their death. These individuals were wanted for nonviolent crimes and should have been detained using standard protocol. To be clear, the car maneuver we’re talking about is the PIT maneuver, in which a pursuing vehicle swerves into a fleeing vehicle’s back tire in order to cause a spin out. It was never designed to be used against humans, and even the police have even admitted that the maneuver was used incorrectly in both cases. They just aren’t going to do anything about it.

The first instance was April 8th, when Riley Doggett (17) was a passenger in a stolen vehicle being pursued by the police. The driver crashed, and Riley got out of the car and fled until the police caught up and swerved into the fleeing teenager, fully running him over. He died from his injuries days later. The Kent County Sheriff’s office callously remarked that “[Riley’s] actions unfortunately placed him at high risk for a deadly encounter, whether with a citizen or law enforcement. It was fortunate for the community that a Kent County Deputy was the one to confront Mr. Doggett during his crime spree.” Apparently, we as citizens of Grand Rapids should feel safer knowing that our cops are slaughtering people without a trial. The footage of the event can be viewed here, though viewer discretion is advised due to the disturbing content.

The second instance was on the morning of April 17th, when Samuel Sterling (25) was filling up his tires and officers from multiple agencies showed up at his house with a warrant for breaking his parole. A chase ensued, and Samuel was eventually caught by an officer using a PIT maneuver to pinch Sterling against the side of a Burger King. The driver reversed, and Sterling fell to the ground. He can be heard saying to the officers, “I got no gun, bro…why you hitting me like this?” The cops then cuff him, take his belongings out of his pockets, and stand around his body, doing nothing to help him. An officer can be heard telling two firefighters to keep his cuffs on because he was a “wanted, violent felon.” This isn’t true. Samuel’s three felonies were for carrying a concealed weapon and theft, all nonviolent crimes. You can watch the video here, though again, viewer discretion is advised. Samuel died just a few hours later in the hospital. 

To add insult to injury, only the offending officer in the second instance is being charged with murder. This is likely due to the fact that this crime falls under the jurisdiction of our progressive state attorney general, Dana Nessel, because the offending officer was a member of the state police. The Kent County Sheriff’s Deputy Josiah McMains is left in the hands of the extremely conservative Kent County prosecutor Chris Becker, so they get off much easier. This is further evidence that the divide between “criminals” and non-criminals is not only socially constructed, but arbitrarily enforced. Becker is throwing the book at Riley’s friend, charging him with Fleeing and Eluding Causing Death, and attempting to try him as an adult. Meanwhile, the blood-thirsty thugs in blue will seemingly continue their vehicular rampage until they’re forced to stop by a higher power, because it saves them time and effort during a chase. What sort of a justice system is that?

All of this feels familiar when we remember the doorbell footage from April 4, 2022 which showed Grand Rapids Police Officer Christopher Schurr struggle to detain Patrick Lyoya, get frustrated, and unceremoniously end the struggle with a bullet to the back of Patrick’s head. At the time Chris Becker assured us that, despite his work being so closely aligned with the GRPD, he did not know Officer Schurr personally and wouldn’t need to recuse himself. More than two years later, and we’re still waiting for that trial to happen and Patrick’s family is still waiting for justice.
And as if this isn’t bad enough, the Grand Rapids police are now campaigning for the right to sue their detainees in civil court; even though they can beat an innocent man without fear of being charged. This means that after arresting you, an officer will be able to steal from you via civil suit. It’s vital that we organize now to rein in our out-of-control law enforcement before it becomes too late. Fight police oppression by protesting any chance you get and vote against this dishonest “Back the Blue” initiative, we can’t afford to give these thugs any more power to oppress us.