West Memphis, AR – The West Memphis Police Department (WMPD) has released harrowing dashcam footage that showed two armed suspects as they rammed into vehicles and ran over a police officer during a pursuit in January (video below).
A grand jury cleared West Memphis police in the fatal officer-involved shooting deaths of Megan Rivera, 22, and De’Angelo Brown, 30, on March 14, WMC reported.
The incident occurred on Jan. 16, after an officer spotted a vehicle traveling with it’s high beams on and without a license plate, KLRT reported.
Investigators later learned that Rivera and Brown had carjacked the vehicle from a 72-year-old woman in South Carolina, according to WREG.
Both were also wanted for shoplifting offenses, WMC reported.
Rivera shirked the officer’s attempt to pull her over, and instead led police on a high-speed pursuit, dashcam footage showed.
“The pursuit went all over the city, [and] lasted 10 or 12 minutes,” West Memphis Assistant Police Chief Robert Langston told WREG.
At one point during the chase, officers tried to stop the vehicle using a tire deflation device, KLRT reported.
Police ultimately cornered the suspects in a residential area on 18th Street and McAuley Drive, according to WREG.
Rivera somehow managed to drive the stolen vehicle through part of the barricade, and promptly crashed into the front of a responding officer’s patrol unit, dashcam footage showed.
Officers ran towards the suspects, as another patrol vehicle slammed into the passenger side of the stolen car.
Rivera tried unsuccessfully to pull ahead, and officers attempted to break out the windows on both sides of the car.
By that time, multiple officers also had their duty weapons pointed at the reckless duo.
Undeterred, Rivera slammed the battered car into reverse and stomped on the accelerator, crashing into two additional patrol vehicles.
The officers again swarmed the suspect vehicle, at which point Rivera hit the accelerator again.
The passenger side of the car struck one of the officers, pulling him beneath the vehicle, as it ran over him.
Six officers opened fire at least 20 times, and Rivera crashed head-on into a patrol car yet again, WMC reported.
Rivera and Brown both succumbed to their gunshot wounds, according to WREG.
Investigators later discovered crack cocaine and a .22 rifle inside the stolen vehicle, WMC reported.
The officer Rivera ran over is recovering but still has a “long road ahead” of him, Chief Langston said.
He will still have to undergo multiple surgeries on his legs, and it is unclear whether or not he will ever be able to return to the force, WREG reported.
Six officers were placed on administrative leave as a result of the officer-involved shooting, and an internal investigation into the incident is ongoing, according to WMC.
Brown and Rivera’s family members denounced the grand jury for not bringing charges against the officers.
"It was just too much force that was taken,” Brown’s sister, Tierra Clyburn, told WREG. "For them not to get no type of punishment, it makes them think they can do whatever they want to do.”
“Why just go killing them like that?” she said, according to WREG. “My brother was just a passenger in the vehicle – he wasn’t even the driver. We want justice.”
Rivera’s sister, Gloria Campos, agreed.
"They could have done something else,” she told WATN. “Taking a life is a big deal…they could have chosen another way.”
Brown’s brother, Lemarutius Clyburn, said that the officers should have just de-escalated the situation, WREG reported.
“They could have took different steps then just opening up fire taking people’s lives when their officers didn’t lose their lives," Lemarutius said. “I just don’t understand how a traffic stop end with two people losing their life…They was traveling, taking trips, just enjoying life.”
You can watch dashcam footage of the final moments of the pursuit in the video below. The attack on the officers occurs just after the 1 minute mark: