Families of South LA pursuit crash victims announce wrongful death lawsuit against LAPD

Leanne Suter Image
Thursday, September 8, 2022
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The families of two innocent victims who were killed in a pursuit crash want the Los Angeles Police Department to be held accountable, and say they would still be alive if police hadn't initiated the chase.

SOUTH LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- The families of two innocent victims who were killed in a pursuit crash want the Los Angeles Police Department to be held accountable, and say they would still be alive if police hadn't initiated the chase.

Civil rights attorney Ben Crump and attorney Dale K.Galipo joined loved ones on Wednesday to announce a wrongful death lawsuit.

The deadly collision happened on Aug. 19 at the intersection of Manchester Avenue and Broadway in South L.A. The chase suspect was fleeing from police at nearly 70mph after they tried to pull him over for speeding.

"The latest victims, the latest casualties, the latest collateral damage in these unjustified and unconstitutional high-speed pursuits through the Black community," Crump said.

The collision happened when the vehicle ran a red light and collided into a BMW, police said. The force of the impact pushed the victims' car into a semitruck.

Janisha Harris, 35, and Jamarea Keyes, 38, were killed in the crash.

"The question becomes should police units, including LAPD units, be engaging in these types of pursuits for minor traffic offenses," Galipo added.

Authorities said officers terminated the pursuit before the crash, but the victims' family members say the LAPD dashcam video clearly shows it was just seconds before.

2 innocent victims killed in South LA hit-and-run leave behind young kids: 'I wish this wasn't real'

"There was a lie to begin with. We want to make sure that the ending of this... will not be a lie. That it will be justice," said Tanya Keyes, wife of the 38-year-old victim.

Crump, his co-counsel and the families say they plan on going before the City Council to demand changes in the LAPD's pursuit policy.