Florida Cop Rams Woman Off Road With PIT Maneuver, She Was Driving 57 In 55 MPH Zone

Chris | InformationLiberation
Nov. 29, 2012

A Florida cop used a PIT maneuver (as pictured) to force a woman off the road causing her SUV to flip, the woman was driving 57 in a 55 mph zone and allegedly failed to immediately respond once the cop turned on his siren. The woman was using cruise control to maintain her speed at 55 MPH, the cop himself says after she failed to respond he tracked her going a "consistent 57 mph," yet he decided to use the dangerous maneuver nonetheless, which is drawing serious criticism. Amazingly, the police say the officer's actions were "acceptable," and the cop is facing zero punishment.

TC Palm reports:
Aggressive traffic stop - which caused accident - needs greater scrutiny

Sandra Silasavage hardly looks like a flight risk. Yet that's what a St. Lucie County sheriff's deputy claimed after he used an aggressive driving technique to force her off the road, flipping her SUV on its side in the process.

Silasavage, 62, is handicapped with a chronic spinal condition that barely allows her to walk. She was charged with fleeing and eluding a law enforcement officer because she did not pull over when instructed to do so.

Her 2008 Ford Expedition was totaled in the wreck, she's out thousands of dollars and her life has been turned upside down.

Silasavage, who lives in western St. Lucie County not far from the Okeechobee County line, was returning home on State Road 70 on the evening of Oct. 28 after shopping in Fort Pierce. She said she had set her cruise control at 55 mph the posted speed limit when she noticed a deputy's patrol car behind her.

The deputy did not have his lights or siren on at first, Silasavage said. She noticed him come alongside her, heard his siren and then "everything went crazy." Her car left the road, rolled and ended up on the driver's side, with Silasavage hanging upside down in her seatbelt.

After breaking her back in a horseriding accident in the 1970s and subsequent unsuccessful surgeries, Silasavage's spine is severely bent and twisted. She walks doubled over and has a morphine pump surgically implanted near her spine to alleviate constant pain.

Deputy Sean Freeman, a 10-year Sheriff's Office veteran, noted in his report Silasavage seemed slumped over the wheel and she did not slow down from her "consistent 57 mph" when he turned on his blue lights. So he initiated a maneuver that's called Precision Immobilization Technique, or P.I.T., an aggressive technique used to stop fleeing vehicles by tapping their rear bumper and spinning them off the road. Use of the maneuver is at the officer's discretion, according to the Sheriff's Office's pursuit guidelines.

Silasavage's criminal defense attorney, Josh Deckard, said the P.I.T. maneuver should be used only when a fleeing driver could pose a public safety hazard or cause loss of life. Deckard spent 15 years in law enforcement in Palm Beach County and taught defensive driving techniques before becoming a lawyer.

[...]The Sheriff's Office would not comment because Silasavage has retained legal counsel. Sheriff's spokesman Mark Weinberg did say Freeman has a spotless driving record and an internal administrative review of the case has not altered the office's view that his action was acceptable.
Read the full article here.

Can you imagine if this became the new normal? Cops ramming you off the road for minor infractions? This case reminds me of the story out of Texas a month ago where Texas police had a sniper in a helicopter shoot at a vehicle because it had a "covered truck bed" which they thought was suspicious and "may have" been used to smuggle drugs, the police in that case also deemed their actions "justified" because the driver failed to respond. It turns out there was no drugs in the car, but there was some illegal immigrants, they killed two of them and sent another to the hospital, as I said at the time, "Welcome to America."
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