La. lawmaker exploring legislation to regulate police pursuits amid deaths of Brusly High students

A state lawmaker is preparing legislation on police chases amid the death of two Brusly High School students after a highspeed pursuit on New Year’s Eve.
Published: Jan. 12, 2023 at 10:50 PM CST
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - A state lawmaker is preparing legislation on police chases amid the death of two Brusly High School students after a highspeed pursuit on New Year’s Eve.

Rep. Edmond Jordan says he is in the early stages of drafting the proposal, but he believes he can get it signed into law during the upcoming legislative session that starts in April.

“These things should not happen, and we need to do something to avoid them,” Jordan said.

Maggie Dunn and Caroline Gill, two teenagers, were killed in a crash when a police officer slammed into their vehicle.

Under Jordan’s proposal, any officer involved in a chase that leads to someone getting killed or seriously hurt will face civil action. This could lead to any potential victims or their families to receive some form of monetary compensation.

“Nobody wants to pay for an officer doing something that’s either grossly negligent or intentional,” Jordan said.

Jordan believes this will incentivize police to implement better training practices, and at least hold them accountable outside of any criminal action that might come.

“Might be strict liability, might be punitive damages, it may be gross negligence, but I can tell you those are some things that I’m looking at right now,” Jordan said.

Rep. C. Denise Marcelle offered her support on the proposal.

”We need to regulate it throughout the state so that there’s one consistent policy and people’s lives aren’t taken, or serious injuries aren’t had.”

Jordan mentioned the case of Jonathan Scott, a young man who died in 2017 after someone hit him during a highspeed chase.

The representative says there are a lot more victims that he can name, and that some sort of regulation should have come years ago.

“As I think Dr. King said, there’s never a wrong time to do the right thing. So, I feel like this is the right thing, we’re doing it, and I think we’re going to be successful,” Jordan said.

Jordan says this plan is not perfect and noted that he might face some pushback, but he plans to have something within the next few months.

“I’m not looking for this to be a two- or three-year process. This is something by the close of session, at the end of the 2023 session, I want something on the Governor’s desk that he can sign,” Jordan said.

Jordan says he will also explore ways for the victims of past police pursuits to benefit from this potential legislation.

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