Government actions have unintended consequences. Even something as simple as trying to pull over a suspected drunk driver.
Tragically, a man was struck and killed by a vehicle early Sunday morning in St. Augustine Florida. It happened when a police officer started to pursue a suspected drunk driver.
But it wasn’t a drunk driver that struck and killed the man. It was the police officer behind the wheel of his cruiser who killed the innocent pedestrian.
As the cop whipped his car into a U-turn to pursue a vehicle for a traffic stop, he struck and killed a man crossing the road with his bike. The officer’s lights and siren were not on at the time. The man had no warning, and could not have predicted that the cruiser would reverse direction and slam into him.
[Florida Highway Patrol] investigators believe the pedestrian, Vincent Kinslow, 33, was impaired when he walked out into the road.
He was taken to Flagler Hospital where we was pronounced dead.
Kinslow was homeless and had been arrested in the past for DUI and battery.
What do his past arrests and homelessness have to do with him being killed by a police officer? Nothing. These are attempts to dehumanize the unintended victim of police carelessness.
And a witness report indicates that the man did not drunkenly stagger into the street as the perpetrator’s fellow officers imply.
The two men were crossing the road walking their bikes when the police officer pulled a dangerous and irresponsible maneuver without bothering to look where he was going, without taking the time to turn on his emergency lights and siren.
“The only thing I heard was a smash. I heard that, I dropped my bike and turned around, and I see him laying in the middle of the road,” said witness Andrew Pannell.
Pannell said he’s known Kinslow for many years and he was crossing just ahead of him when it happened…
Pannell said he had hoped to get his friend back on his feet.
“I got off the streets myself. So I was taking him and his girlfriend in to Vilano, in my little condo. But then this happened,” Pannell said.
He said Kinslow will be missed.
“Everybody loved him. He’s a very good guy. A hard worker,” Pannell said. “I just, I still don’t understand. I’m just having a hard time with it right now.”
Police have the power to detain suspected drunk drivers in the name of saving lives. And surely sometimes they do save lives.
But in this case, the officer turned out to be the deadly danger to civilians, not the alleged drunk driver.
Maybe it is time to think about the consequences of prosecuting victimless crimes. Yes, even drunk driving. Police are so overzealous that they hurt more people than they help.
Absolutely punish those who irresponsibly drive drunk and hurt or kill others. Throw the book at them! Being drunk does not excuse behavior that hurts others.
And neither does being a cop.
Does getting a DUI really keep people from driving drunk anyway?
One man was arrested for driving while intoxicated four times. And still, he never crashed or hurt anyone. Despite this, he was sentenced to 25 YEARS in prison, without the possibility of parole!
We’re not defending his actions. Driving drunk is irresponsible. But so are a whole host of other behaviors. We should not punish pre-crimes, we should hold people accountable when their actions harm others.
Yes, even cops. Especially cops.
Because cops hitting pedestrians while overzealously pursuing suspects of victimless violations is a small matter compared to the abuse suffered by people at the hands of SWAT teams.
In December a man was shot and killed by a SWAT sniper when police were called to his home as a prank. The officer was cleared of misconduct.
SWAT teams have got themselves and others killed when they bust down doors without knocking over reports of a couple weed plants. Often they find no evidence.
SWAT teams have burned a child with a stun grenade when they failed to properly surveil the property. As usual, they blamed the victim’s mother for the third-degree facial burns they caused to her two-year-old boy.
It doesn’t matter how good the intentions, overly aggressive policing gets people killed.
And allowing people to be assaulted and caged for victimless crimes is a travesty in itself.