Police defend chase that left officers injured

by: Craig Lucie Updated:

Palmetto police Corporal Michael Upshur was injured in the crash.

ATLANTA - Channel 2 Action News is looking into whether Georgia’s high-speed chase laws were followed after two police officers collided in Palmetto on Tuesday.

Palmetto police said they followed their rules during the chase. It started when Union City police said they responded to a credit card fraud call at the United Community Bank on Shannon Parkway.

They said Rakim Jackson committed fraud and ran over to a Walgreens parking lot where he carjacked a minivan. That’s when the chase began that, witnesses say, reached 100 mph and ended with two officers injured.

Palmetto Cpl. Michael Upshur is spending his second day in the intensive care unit.

“He is being treated for some head injuries,” Palmetto police Sgt. Lee Gragg said. “They were scheduling a battery of scans and that type of stuff today.”

Witnesses said Upshur tried to make a U-turn on Roosevelt Highway. Union City Officer Kevin Gilham slammed right into him while they were both trying to catch Jackson.

“At what point is there a cut-off when you reach a certain speed?” Channel 2’s Craig Lucie asked Gragg.

Gragg told him several factors come into play, but there’s always one main concern.

“It has to have due regard for the citizens of the community and to see if the crime weighs the pursuit,” Gragg said.

Channel 2 Action News photojournalist Leonard Raglin was there when Jackson waived his first court appearance at the Fulton County Jail.

Lucie spoke with the agency that certifies police officers, Georgia’s Peace Officer Standards and Training Council, about high-speed chase laws.

“State law says anybody involved in a pursuit as an emergency vehicle must use an audible signal meaning a siren and flashing and revolving blue lights. They have to exercise due regard for the safety of all persons,” said Ryan Powell, the director of operations at Georgia POST Council.

Palmetto police told Lucie they followed the law.

“It appears on the surface that all of Palmetto’s policies and procedures were followed,” said Gragg.

Gragg went on to say that they are doing their own independent investigation, Union City is doing their own and the Georgia State Patrol is assisting both agencies.

Union City’s police representative wasn’t available and a captain only told Lucie that the crash is under investigation.


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