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Police pursuits turn deadly for innocent pedestrians in the Southland

The crime scene after a police car chase in downtown Los Angeles.
The crime scene after a police car chase in downtown Los Angeles.
Erika Aguilar/KPCC

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In East L.A.on Saturday, a 23-year-old man was killed when his sedan was rammed by a car fleeing police at high speed. Julio Cesar Reyes-Salvador was stopped at an intersection as the hot pursuit approached. Three other cars were nearly demolished, as well, injuring four more people. The Los Angeles Police Department say the suspect was being chased for suspicion of driving recklessly. That suspect has been charged with vehicular manslaughter for the death Reyes-Salvador. The pursuit lasted only a few minutes, according to NBC 4. It's the second time in a week that an innocent bystander has been killed during a police pursuit.

In Santa Ana last Thursday, 33-year old Andrew Scott Reisse was walking on Flower Street when a white Dodge Charger ran over him, killing the young man. Police were pursuing the Charger for twenty minutes before the collision. Those suspects are now in custody.

Why did these police pursuits result in the death of bystanders? What are the rules governing when a police cruiser should stand down or when a police helicopter should be called in? Is there any way to make pursuits safer on public streets?

Andrew Neiman, Lieutenant, Los Angeles Police Department

Geoffrey Alpert, Professor of Criminology, University of South Carolina