OFFICIAL STATEMENT FROM THE ETHICAL SOCIETY OF POLICE
Akeelah “Kee Kee” Jackson, a smart, beautiful, 12-year-old child, lost her life after being struck by a St. Louis County Police Officer on October 14th, 2019. The officer failed to turn on his lights and siren for “32” seconds as he pursued a car for a traffic violation. It takes one second to turn on the lights of a police car, an additional second to turn on the siren. That officer also drove 59 miles per hour in a 30 mile per hour zone before killing Akeelah.
I doubt the officer that killed Akeelah with his reckless actions wanted to hurt a child; however, a child has lost her life with her family left to pick up the pieces from his actions. The officer must be charged and held responsible.
After Akeelah was struck, the St. Louis County Police Department Public Information Sergeant Benjamin Granda stated, “I think reasonable people understand that a police officer has a duration of time or space they need to catch up with a car to initiate a traffic stop.” What is “reasonable” is expecting an officer to take two of those 32 seconds to turn on his lights and siren. Furthermore, we are taught in the Police Academy to turn on our lights and siren to be recognized as an emergency vehicle. We, as officers, are not given a “grace period” to speed. Just once, I’d like to see a Police Department immediately hold us accountable when our actions cost someone their life.
Please note, in 2018, two men, Mikel Neil and Townsal Woolfolk, lost their lives during an unauthorized St. Louis County vehicle pursuit. At the time, St. Louis County Police released a statement stating their officers were not pursuing the car. Activists later found video that showed they had pursued the vehicle.
It’s time for those 32 seconds catch up to the officer that killed Akeelah “Kee Kee” Jackson.
Heather Taylor, President of the Ethical Society of Police
ABOUT THE ETHICAL SOCIETY OF POLICE
The Ethical Society of Police (E.S.O.P.) is an association of police officers, park rangers, and civilians that advocates for racial and gender equity in the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department (SLMPD) and St. Louis County Police Department. The E.S.O.P. was founded in 1972 to address racial biases within law enforcement. The E.S.O.P. also works to improve community/police relations, develop policies and programs to reduce crime, elevate the status of minority civilians and police officers, encourage greater minority employment by law enforcement agencies, and increase professionalism in law enforcement. Membership is open to all races and includes nearly 300 law enforcement professionals employed by the City and County of St. Louis. For details, call (314) 690-3565, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.esopstl.org.