Special to the NNPA from the Richmond Free Press –
RICHMOND, Va. (NNPA) - Virginia Delegate Delores L. McQuinn has cited the high-speed police chase that resulted in the death of an admired Church Hill minister as proof that there is a need for a “correction in our laws.”
That fatal chase by Henrico County police shows that the risk of death to innocent people is being ignored.
“And that has to change,” the Richmond legislator said April 26. Standing at the intersection where a driver fleeing police last month killed Apostle Anthony L. Taylor, Delegate McQuinn announced she would introduce legislation pushing for:
A study to create the first uniform state guidelines to govern such pursuits rather than leaving it to individual officers “to make the split-second line. Mr. Harris is charged with second-degree murder and other offenses. The officers involved have been cleared.
Delegate McQuinn’s proposals for change won quick endorsement from Delegate Joseph D. “Joe” Morrissey, D-Henrico, who attended the press conference. Also present were City Councilwoman Cynthia I. Newbille, whose district includes the site of Apostle Taylor’s death, and representatives of four nearby churches, including the United House of Prayer for All People, where Apostle Taylor served as pastor.
Delegate Morrissey emphasized, as did Delegate McQuinn, that police officials as well as citizens would need to be involved to ensure broad support for the measures, particularly the guidelines.
Delegate McQuinn said two other Richmond delegates, Betsy B. Carr and Jennifer L. McClellan, also have given her assurances of support for her legislation.
Meanwhile, Mayor Dwight C. Jones is still seeking to arrange a summit on high-speed chases with counterparts in Henrico, Chesterfield and Hanover counties. He called for the session after Apostle Taylor’s death in a bid to gain support for creation of regional guidelines to govern chases across local boundaries.
While Delegate McQuinn praised the mayor’s initiative, she said the chase issue affects the entire state. The proposals represent a step forward, said Dr. Patricia Gould-Champ, pastor of Faith Community Baptist Church, one of the ministers at the press conference.
She recalled a Richmond police chase 15 years ago that resulted in injuries to several people leaving services at Thirty-first Street Baptist Church, where she was then assistant pastor.
“Fortunately, no one was killed” in that pursuit, which created chaos in front of the church, she said. “It’s time to do something to address chase policies."
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