The dashcam video at the end of a high-speed chase in Ionia County underscores the split-second, life-and-death decisions officers make every day.
The chase began around 10 p.m. Tuesday when Ionia County deputies pulled a suspected drunk driver over at Miriam and Ingles roads. But the driver sped off.
"The person chose not to stop, but rather to bolt," said Ionia County Sheriff Dwain Dennis. "So the chase was on so to speak."
As he drove, police said in a release, he tried to lower the convertible top on his Chrysler.
At that moment, the deputy told the dispatcher," He's putting the top down." The driver later told police he did that because he wanted to hit a tree and kill himself.
Michigan State Police joined the pursuit and put out a road spike strip at McPherson and Covered Bridge Road, near Lowell. That stopped the car, but when he got out, he stuck his hand in his jacket and said he had a gun.
That's when he told officers to shoot him, officials said. In that moment, when he was attempting the phenomenon known as suicide by cop, officers had to make a decision.
"By reaching in his pocket, kind of giving it one of these gestures," Dennis told 24 Hour News 8, "the officer did shoot him. But they shot him with a Taser and brought him down."
Dennis said these decisions weigh on each officer. "These are all split-second decisions that the officer has to make at the scene, at that moment," he said. "When it comes down to taking a life, that's a tremendous weight on that police officers shoulders."
It's a decision that will end a bad situation safely or tragically.
"For them to just shoot someone who reaches into a coat, there's a lot that takes place in that fraction of a second in that police officer's mind," Dennis said.
The driver has been charged with drunk driving, fleeing and eluding and resisting arrest.
|Liveleak on Facebook|