Victim's family raise questions about police chase

August 27, 2009 7:10:58 PM PDT
An 18-month-old boy is in critical condition and his mother is dead -- all because a man wouldn't stop for police. He blew-through a stop sign while being chased and slammed into their car. High speed police chases are controversial and now the little boy's family is asking some tough questions.

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Dante Burgess has not left Children's Hospital Oakland since his son, 18-month-old Naiere was brought there. He's still in critical condition.

Last night police, say Naiere's mother Marquita Bosley was driving in West Oakland when 26-year-old Steven Reed plowed into her car. Reed was being pursued by police.

"During the pursuit, officers in a two man unit, were pursuing a vehicle for high rate of speed. They had their lights and sirens on," said Oakland Officer Jeff Thomason.

Police say it was a very short pursuit from West Grand Avenue to 18th and West Street, lasting only 35 seconds.

"I don't feel that OPD should be having a high speed chase. I mean, at some point you should see that you are not able to subdue the suspect, so you take the license plate number to catch him at a later date. It's innocent bystanders who are always going to pay for it," said William Frazer, Naiere's grandfather.

Oakland's acting police chief, Howard Jordan defended the officer's actions, "He could have pulled over. Most people do. Very few pursuits end in crashes or people fleeing from police. When we pull someone over we turn our lights on, we expect them to pull over."

The two officers are on paid administrative leave. The investigation is being handled by the district attorney's office, the homicide division and internal affairs.

Police still have not determined whether alcohol or drugs played a part in this incident.

The little boy's great aunt says his condition seems to be improving.

"I feel better than yesterday, because he has gotten better. We are just keeping our prayers with God that he strengthen in us and strengthen in him that he will pull through," said Debra Lacy, Naiere's great aunt.

Reed, the driver of that car, remains in the hospital. Police have yet to interview him. Even though he was arrested last night at the scene, he has not been charged. Police have 48 hours to do so.

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