UPDATE: FUNERAL ARRANGEMENTS (family Facebook post)
The FUNERAL is Thursday July 2nd @ Burns Seventh-Day Adventist Church @ 10129 E. Warren Ave Detroit, Michigan 48214, family hour 10 services at 11
R.I.P. MICHAELANGELO & MAKIAH YOU ARE MISSED
“The police were right on their rear, bumped their tail a little bit, and the car flew up into the air . . . .When the car hit them, both of them just looked at me—it keeps re-playing in my head” — Eyewitness
Police continued chase after 2 children killed into next block, where three others sustained serious injuries
Candlelight vigil held June 25
DPD Chief Craig changes story at least 3 times
GoFundMe account set up to fund funerals of Makiah Jackson, 3, and Michaelangelo Jackson, 6, at http://www.gofundme.com/m-mcare
By Diane Bukowski
June 26, 2015
DETROIT – “I told L’il Mama ‘give me a hug, I love you,’ and she said, ‘I love you too,” a friend of Alisha Jackson’s family told VOD two days after Makiah Jackson (L’il Mama), 3, and her brother Michaelangelo Jackson, 6, were killed June 24, in front of their home on Nottingham during a high-speed Detroit police chase.
“I’m the last one they talked to,” she said, as she sat on the family’s porch. “They looked at me, they were here, I saw their faces. L’il Mama thought I was going to take them to the park, so she came with me to the sidewalk. I told her I promise I’ll take you to the park tomorrow.”
In the next seconds, she said she saw a police car chasing what looked like a red Challenger.
“[The police] were right on their rear, the police car bumped their tail a little bit, and the car flew up in the air,” the friend said. “There was no need for the police to be that close. I yelled ‘WATCH OUT’ but it was too late. When the car hit them, both of them just looked at me. They screamed. It just keeps re-playing in my head.”
She said she heard tire squeals indicating the car must have hit its brakes, but it was out of control and going too fast to stop. The police “tap” of the bumper, according to a report on a similar chase down 1-75, is what’s called a “precision immobilization technique,” or TIP.
“I ran down there, I yelled out their names, but they were gone. Makiah’s eyes were wide open, they died on impact.”
It appeared the car dragged the children part way down the street, the friend said. But the police car did not stop the chase even then. They continued until the car being chased ran across the front lawns of homes in the next block, and crashed into the driveway of one, hitting children and adults there as well. Then police finally put the Jackson children in their car to take them to the hospital.
Three children at the second home, Darius Andrews, Jr., 3, Isaiah Williams, 5, and Zyaire Gardner, 7, were critically injured. Gardner was flown to a hospital in Ann Arbor because his lungs had collapsed, according to media reports quoting his father.
A passenger in the car being pursued was in serious condition, and an adult, LaKendra Hill, 22, in the yard sustained injuries to her leg. A relative told VOD that she had been released from the hospital but went back the next day because her leg was still bothering her.
“(Zyaire) is the real hero,” Darius Andrews Sr. told the Detroit News. “He saved my son’s life. He grabbed him and tried to hold him.”
As he ran down the street to a candlelight vigil being held for both families, Andrews, Sr. shouted out to VOD, “I say, Detroit police, when they see children on the street, stop your goddamn chase.”
Police reported that Lorenzo Harris, 29, who is on parole but has not been reporting, was the driver of the car being chased. They have not identified his passenger, or reported what charges they plan to bring.
Detroit police chief James Craig’s version of events keeps changing. On the night of the pursuit, he said that the three “Special Ops” police in the car had suspended their chase when they “lost sight of the car.” After numerous witnesses reported that was not the case, Craig said a supervisor had ordered them to stop the chase, but that has not been documented.
Craig said at first that the chase began when police saw an occupant in the car with a gun, then said June 25 that there was no gun, that the chase started when the police “made eye contact” with the two men in the car.
Evangelist Kim Stephenson organized the candlelight vigil, which included members of both families and neighborhood residents, many of them in tears. One young man collapsed to the ground in grief.
“We want no more chases,” Evangelist Stephenson told the families. “We’re going to fight back. You aren’t going to fight these battles no more by yourself. We are coming together to help both these families heal.”
Candice Paschall asked VOD, “Isn’t it against the law for them to pursue their chase when children are there? They need to enforce that. There’s no telling how many innocent bystanders are getting hurt and dying. It’s about the kids, not the police and the people they’re chasing. This is getting out of hand.”
In fact, DPD policy says,
“Members involved in a pursuit must question whether the seriousness of the violation warrants continuation of the pursuit. A pursuit shall be discontinued when, in the judgment of the primary unit, there is a clear and present danger to the public which outweighs the need for immediate apprehension of the violator.
Officers must keep in mind that a vehicle pursuit has the same potential for serious injury or death as the use of fatal force. . . .Officers must place the protection of human life above all other considerations.”
(See full policy at dpd-vehicle-pursuit-policy)
VOD has requested the following information, among other items, from the Detroit Police Department Public Affairs Unit, whose Officer Donkowski said an investigation is ongoing:
- The NAMES of the three officers involved in the chase. Are they on “restricted” duties” or “administrative leave,” as variously reported?
- Are criminal charges and disciplinary action including discharge being considered?
- Why is Police Chief Craig giving so many varying stories of the events?
No response had been received by publication time, so VOD will be filing a Freedom of Information Act request for that and other information.
VOD also sent a request to Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy’s office July 1, asking whether she will pursue charges against the three police officers who conducted the chase. The Michigan Supreme Court held in Robinson et al v. City of Detroit in 1998 that officers are not liable for chases unless the conduct amounts to gross negligence that is the proximate cause of injury or damage.”
An article in the Sept. 2000 issue of the Law Enforcement Agency Forum newsletter added that the Supreme Court ruled against Robinson because “The police vehicle did not hit the fleeing car or physically cause another vehicle or object to hit the vehicle that police were pursuing or physically force the vehicle off the road or into another vehicle or object. Therefore, there was no exception to governmental immunity.”
See VOD email to Worthy at VOD Email to Maria Miller of Prosecutor Kym Worthy office and LEAF newsletter article on Robinson case at police_operation_vehicles_9_00.
On June 24, Michigan State Police spun out a suspect’s vehicle on the westbound Davison ramp off I-75 after a dangerous 15 minute high-speed chase on the freeway.
On the Channel 7 news report, Lt. Michael Shaw of the Michigan State Police said, “Troopers use the Precision Immobilization Technique or Pit Maneuver. Basically what that is we make contact with the front end of our patrol car with the back end of our car. It makes it easier for them to lose control of their car without putting anyone else in danger.” Ironically, the police chase began not far from the neighborhood where the Jacksons live, on French Road. See Channel 7 report at http://www.wxyz.com/news/video-police-spin-suspect-vehicle-in-dramatic-freeway-chase.
The PIT maneuver sounds precisely similar to that reported in the chase that killed little Makiah and Michaelangelo.
The family of Mikiah and Michaelangelo Jackson has set up a GoFundMe account to help with their funeral expenses, which they said they cannot afford. Click on http://www.gofundme.com/m-mcare to access the site.