MILWAUKEE -- A young Milwaukee man was charged Tuesday, May 14 in connection with one of nine weekend police pursuits involving the Milwaukee Police Department -- facing renewed scrutiny over the department's pursuit policy, particularly after three crashes that resulted deaths in less than 10 days in late April. Thankfully, no one was hurt when this pursuit on Friday, May 10 came to an end.
The first moments were captured by surveillance cameras.
Khalil Washington-Cox, 20, of Milwaukee faces one count of second degree recklessly endangering safety, one count of attempting to flee or elude an officer and one count of resisting or obstructing an officer.
According to a criminal complaint, just before 8:45 p.m. on Friday, May 10, officers in a marked squad noticed a vehicle approaching them near 76th Street and Highway 145. The driver, later identified as Washington-Cox spotted the officers, he "hit the brakes and then accelerated northbound on N. 76th Street in a 35 mph zone." A traffic stop was attempted, but the complaint said Washington-Cox failed to stop -- instead accelerating an an effort to elude the officers. Cameras at a nearby auto lot captured the vehicle barreling through the intersection at 76th Street -- with three squads in tow.
The pursuit lasted for more than six miles at high speeds -- reaching 100 miles per hour in 35 mph zone, the complaint said.
Prosecutors said Washington-Cox had two passengers.
The pursuit ended near when the vehicle became disabled near 60th Street and Hampton.
Washington-Cox made his initial appearance in court on May 14. Probable cause was found for further proceedings, and a motion to dismiss two counts from the defense was denied. A preliminary hearing was set for May 24. Cash bond was set at $7,500.
Police reported 11 arrests were made as a result of the nine weekend pursuits. On Monday, Milwaukee Alderman Cavalier Johnson defended the pursuit policy, with the Fire and Police Commission set to review it on Thursday, May 16.
"So it may seem as if there's a lot of carnage happening because of the policy in place right now, but I just go back to the year or two years before the policy was changed, and you already had people dying in the streets, because people were driving recklessly. The policy of today and into the future is that if you are doing harm on the streets of Milwaukee, the police are going to get you," said Alderman Johnson.
The Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission on Sept. 7, 2017 approved the proposed revised pursuit policy that allows Milwaukee police officers to pursue vehicles involved in reckless driving and suspected mobile drug trafficking. Four years prior, then-MPD Chief Ed Flynn changed the pursuit policy after several innocent bystanders were killed.
Officers once restricted to only chasing vehicles suspected of being involved in violent crime, now have discretion to follow drug dealers, reckless drivers and more.