Police Chief Sam Dotson on Dramatic Chase of Teen Suspect: "Is This The World We Want?"

Categories: Crime

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via Facebook
Police Chief Sam Dotson.
One of the first things St. Louis Metropolitan Police Chief Sam Dotson does when he wakes up in the morning is find out what happened that evening while he was sleeping.

Last week, he woke up to news of a particularly troubling police chase that ended without serious injury -- but left him reflecting on the "harsh reality of the world we live in."

Dotson, in what appears to be an unusually personal blog post, writes of this dramatic chase of a fifteen-year-old suspect: "What I discovered on this particular day made me sad, angry and frustrated, but even more so, made me question who is helping us change the culture."

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The post on the chief's blog, where he has been publishing commentary since he stepped up to the position in January, is titled "The Sad Reality of The World We Live In: A Chief's Rant." Dotson says he was earlier reflecting on St. Louis County Police Chief Tim Fitch's recent blog post, "How Not to Become a Homicide Victim." Fitch, as Dotson summarizes, says: "Don't sell drugs, don't carry an illegal gun, remove yourself from abusive relationships and help those with mental illness receive treatment."

After learning of an overnight armed robbery and police chase involving a very young suspect, Dotson says he considers Fitch's commentary in a new light.

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via Facebook
Sam Dotson, left.

The incident -- according to a summary provided to Daily RFT, full report below -- involves a fifteen-year-old male, now in juvenile custody, who apparently got into all sorts of trouble after 2 a.m. Thursday morning in the Dutchtown South neighborhood.

Police say the unnamed juvenile approached a 35-year-old man who was in his 2006 Cadillac, threatened him with a firearm and forced him to lie on the ground at the 3800 block of Osceola Street.

He then drove off in the stolen vehicle, but minutes later, officers observed him riding in the stolen car. Cops repeatedly tried to stop the suspect with spike strips, but the juvenile fled, at one point even striking the officers' vehicle, the report says. Once the suspect's stolen car came to a stop, he then reportedly tried to run on foot and was finally apprehended by cops, only after they used a taser. He has been charged with first-degree robbery, second-degree assault on a law enforcement officer, leaving the scene of an accident, property damage and resisting arrest.

Of the chase, Dotson writes, "The suspect, with no regard for human life and with reckless disregard for the wellbeing of anyone else including himself, drove erratically and recklessly; even striking a police officer's vehicle."

The suspect also had a criminal history, the chief says:

And to answer the question before you ask: this was not his first foray into the area of criminal enterprises. Somebody should have seen this young man was on a course that needed correction. Where were his parents? Where are his parents? Where were the courts? Where was anyone?

Dotson writes at the end of his post, "Where is the community's outrage? Where are the interventions? This is just one of a countless litany of crimes where we have to stop and ask ourselves: is this the world we want, but more importantly, what are we willing to do to change it?"

Here's the full blog post, followed by the original SLMPD incident report.

The Sad Reality of The World We Live In: A Chief's Rant

The first thing a police chief does after waking up in the morning is find out what happened in their city while they were asleep. This morning was no exception. What I discovered on this particular day made me sad, angry and frustrated, but even more so, made me question who is helping us change the culture.

There are many things in my life which I can control, however there are many more which I cannot. Last night was one of those nights that I could not control.

Before going to sleep last night, I read my friend Tim Fitch's blog. Tim, who is Chief of Police in St. Louis County, blogged about "How Not to Become a Homicide Victim"...one of the things we preach daily in law enforcement. His tips: don't sell drugs, don't carry an illegal gun, remove yourself from abusive relationships and help those with mental illness receive treatment. It made sense, it was common sense, and I agreed with Chief Fitch and his thoughts.

When I woke up this morning, I thought about his message in a different light after learning about the behavior of a 15-year old overnight. It started about 2:20 in the morning when a young man, armed with a handgun, approached a vehicle owner and ordered the owner to lie on the ground while he drove off in the victim's Cadillac. Minutes later, officers observed the 15-year old suspect in the stolen Cadillac. This began a nearly 20 minute pursuit of a 15-year old armed robber. The suspect, with no regard for human life and with reckless disregard for the wellbeing of anyone else including himself, drove erratically and recklessly; even striking a police officer's vehicle. Our training and tactics teach officers to use a variety of methods to end pursuits like this one. I must commend the officers for their professionalism, their composure and their desire to end this pursuit as quickly and safely as possible. Those skills, along with the use of spike strips to deflate the suspect's tires, ended this dangerous fleeing safely.

When the vehicle finally came to rest, the suspect jumped from the vehicle in an effort to run from officers. Officers used a Taser to finally subdue the young man and arrest him. Fortunately, there were no serious injuries to the officers, to citizens or to the suspect. The 15-year old suspect has been charged with Robbery 1st, Assault 2nd on a Law Enforcement Officer, Leaving the Scene of an Accident, Property Damage and Resisting Arrest.

And to answer the question before you ask: this was not his first foray into the area of criminal enterprises. Somebody should have seen this young man was on a course that needed correction. Where were his parents? Where are his parents? Where were the courts? Where was anyone?

Here is the harsh reality of the world we live in: last night, a 15-year old armed with a gun and a 2,000 pound vehicle led police officers on a winding pursuit with little to no regard for anyone's wellbeing, or for that matter, their life. Where is the community's outrage? Where are the interventions? This is just one of a countless litany of crimes where we have to stop and ask ourselves: is this the world we want, but more importantly, what are we willing to do to change it?

Incident summary:

Incident: Carjacking/ACA/Felony Fleeing/Assault 1st LEO (X2)/ Felony Leaving the Scene/Felony Resisting/Property Damage 1st
Location: 3800 block of Osceola
Date/Time: 7/25/13 @ 02:20
Victim #1: 35-year old black male
Victim #2: St. Louis Police Officer
Victim #3: St. Louis Police Officer
Suspect(s): 15-year old black male (in juvenile custody)
Officers responded to a call for a carjacking and upon arrival, Victim #1 reported that upon entering his automobile, the suspect approached him. The suspect then ordered Victim #1 to lie on the ground, displaying a firearm. While Victim #1 was on the ground, the suspect fled in his vehicle, a black 2006 Cadillac. After the description of the stolen vehicle was broadcasted, officers observed the vehicle traveling east in the 4200 block of Meramec. A vehicle pursuit initiated and officers deployed spike strips in an attempt to stop the vehicle. As the suspect continued on, the suspect struck the officers' vehicle at Michigan and Osage. The officers continued to deploy spike strips and the vehicle came to a rest at Gasconade and Louisiana after striking a curb. The suspect exited the vehicle and attempted to flee on foot when an officer deployed his department-issued Taser. The suspect was taken into custody without further incident. The suspect was conveyed to a local hospital for Taser prong removal and found fit for confinement and is now in custody of Juvenile authorities. The investigation is ongoing.

Send feedback and tips to the author. Follow Sam Levin on Twitter at @SamTLevin.


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9 comments
erudite.enigma.stl
erudite.enigma.stl

My question is, what would have happened if the motorist had been armed and had dropped this punk like a bad habit? What if the motorist in question was white or "white Hispanic"? Would we be now discussing how tragic that another black youth died at the hands of an armed white guy? Would we be having our own Trayvon/Zimmerman case?

This juvenile is a lost soul and likely irretrievable. Fully formed  brain or not, this criminal will likely learn more trade craft while in incarcerated and when it's all said and done, he will either wind up dead or worse yet killing an innocent person for whatever pointless reason. 

anniebelle15
anniebelle15

I just wanna point out that a 15 year old does not have a fully-formed brain. They often engage in risk taking behavior. Why was this kid's behavior so extreme? Where did he get the gun? Where are the adults in his life? where did they think he was?

It's easy to produce kids. Giving them the attention that they need. that's something else entirely. We don't know if this kid can grow into a productive member of society. He needs to be evaluated by professionals who understand deviant bahaviour and adolscents. and come up with a plan that best serves society for this kid's future.

Obviously he needs to go someplace where he gets lots of attention.--someplace like jail. And they can talk about personal responsibility and consequences.

Couch Pig
Couch Pig

We are represented by a piss poor police force of low IQ state leeches....And we know you cant fire these people for not doing their job they know it too

JamesMadison
JamesMadison topcommenter

Contrast the police chief's words and those the RFT wants to inject into the conversation:"police chase involving a very young suspect" and "a different light after learning about the behavior of a 15-year old overnight. It started about 2:20 in the morning when a young man,"

The RFT wants us to believe 15 years is VERY young. In three short years, he is legally an adult. In one year, he might have gotten his driver license. If 15 years old is VERY young, I suggest we increase the age to vote, drive, drink, and be responsible to 26 (the age Obama thinks child becomes adults according to healthcare provisions).

At 15, he is young, but not very young. the police chief calls him a man because the 15 yr old committed adult crimes. Let's start treating teenagers who commit adult crimes like adults. Sadly, you will never rehab this individual to have respect for human life. It is so foreign to him that no amount of therapy will change his base attitude.

Couch Pig
Couch Pig

does he just blog and make public appearances or does he actually fight crime?

OlDiz
OlDiz

Powerful insight from one in the trenches while we sip coffee and shake our heads. Where is the community outrage, indeed.

Rick Firestein
Rick Firestein

No Hope, Change for the Worse. Bet he looks like Obummers son!

rachaduncan
rachaduncan

@Rick Firestein Yes, somehow this is all Obama's fault. This 15 year olds problems have been in the making for 15 years sir. There is no hope and change because some of us can't see past our own noses.

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