Teen Mowed Down and Killed by Police Cruiser

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On Thursday, March 21, 2024, an unfortunate incident in Leland, Mississippi, resulted in the death of a 17-year-old teenager.

Kadarius Smith was walking home with friends when a police cruiser, operated by an officer from the Leland Police Department, initiated a pursuit that tragically ended with Smith being struck from behind by the vehicle and killed.

The event has ignited widespread concern and demands for accountability over what is perceived as an excessive use of force by law enforcement.

A statement from Ben Crump, the civil rights attorney representing the Smith family, detailed that a Leland Police Department cruiser aggressively pursued Smith before impacting him from behind, which tragically led to his death from the sustained injuries.

Kadarius Smith’s mother, recounting the horrific details, stated that her son was left with tire marks across his back, a physical testament to the fatal encounter.

Crump has been vocal about the circumstances leading to Smith’s untimely death, characterizing the act as “unconscionable” and a tragedy that “should have never happened.” The legal advocate is not new to such cases, representing families in high-profile incidents involving law enforcement nationwide.

The Leland Police Department’s response to the incident has been scrutinized. Edward J. Bogen, Jr., a lawyer for Leland, confirmed that the officer involved has been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation by the Mississippi Highway Safety Patrol and the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation. However, the officer’s identity and the specifics of the call that allegedly prompted the pursuit have yet to be disclosed, leaving many questions unanswered.

Bogen challenged Crump and the Smith family’s narrative, suggesting that the initial account of Kadarius simply walking home might only partially be accurate. Despite this, Bogen has refrained from providing detailed counterclaims, citing the ongoing nature of the independent investigation.

Crump has demanded the immediate dismissal of the officer involved and the release of unedited footage from the incident to the Smith family, stressing the imperative of transparency and accountability. He described the manner of Smith’s death as inhumane and indicative of broader systemic issues in law enforcement.

This case contributes to a troubling pattern of incidents in Mississippi, highlighting concerns over police conduct. Recently, six officers known as the “Goon Squad” were convicted for a racially motivated assault in Braxton, Mississippi. Moreover, a former officer in Pearl, Mississippi, admitted guilt in a disturbing abuse of power case.

The Department of Justice’s ongoing investigation into the Lexington Police Department for potential civil rights infringements further emphasizes the urgent need to scrutinize police practices.

Crump, who has represented the families of several Black teenagers in nationally prominent cases, brings significant attention to Smith’s case. His involvement signifies the broader implications of Smith’s death in the context of police interactions with Black communities.

As the investigation into Smith’s death progresses, his family and the broader community anxiously await answers, hoping for justice and measures to prevent such tragedies in the future.

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