In January 2015, Tateolena Tauaifaga, a 17-month-old girl from Sydney, Australia, died as a result of a police chase, during which the suspect’s car rammed the fence of an apartment building behind which a child was playing.
At that time, the police department was looking for a man suspected of a series of armed robberies. They were informed that one more crime would happen in the near future, and during the next patrol they noticed a stolen car driven by a suspect. The officers initiated a chase, during which the criminal “drove as fast as possible.” Despite the fact that the department’s policy does not recommend that police officers participate in a high-speed chase in a residential area, the police continued to follow the stolen car even when it left the highway. The police surrounded the suspect, who decided to ram the fence of one of the houses, behind which the 17-month-old Tauaifaga was playing. The girl died on the spot from her injuries. It is reported that the police could have arrested the suspect a few hours before the incident and not arrange a chase.
The baby’s family filed a lawsuit against the city and the police department, and despite the fact that the driver was sentenced to 19 years in prison for a fatal accident; none of the police officers were responsible for the death of the child. In May 2021, a police officer who participated in the deathly chase in 2015 said that he did not consider himself guilty, since he could not have known that a high-speed chase would take the life of a 17-month-old girl.
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