The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

A Tale of Two Car Thieves

Posted on | January 31, 2021 | Comments Off on A Tale of Two Car Thieves

Reginald Lamar Harris was a lifelong criminal. He had 18 felony convictions and had been sent to prison eight times. Last September, at age 47, Harris was released from prison after serving time for grand theft, and it was only a matter of time before he committed another crime.

About 11 p.m. on Sunday, December 27, on Lee Road on the north side of Orlando near Interstate 4, Harris carjacked a pizza delivery driver, getting away behind the wheel of a 2017 Nissan Altima. Two days later and about 80 miles away, deputies in Flagler County spotted the stolen Nissan, which took off and headed south down I-95. Harris turned off the car’s headlights — it was about 7 p.m. — and raced southward at speeds upward of 100 mph. When he crossed into Volusia County, deputies there joined the pursuit, but backed off because of the high speed. Harris continued south to Beville Road near Daytona, where he inexplicably made a U-turn and began driving north in the southbound lane. He didn’t get far, ramming head-on into an SUV carrying a family from Wisconsin:

A brother and sister driving back from seeing a display of Christmas lights at Daytona International Speedway in Florida were killed Tuesday night when a man fleeing the police at speeds over 110 m.p.h. drove against traffic on southbound Interstate 95 and struck their S.U.V. head-on, the authorities said.
Moments before the crash, which also killed the fleeing driver, the siblings were following family members in another car but missed their exit onto Interstate 4, said Mike Chitwood, the Volusia County sheriff.
The fleeing driver had 50 previous arrests, no driver’s license and had been incarcerated eight times in state prison, the sheriff said at a news conference where he angrily flipped through a thick sheaf of papers that he said was the man’s 200-page rap sheet. “Fifty prior arrests,” he said. “I don’t know what to say.”
The siblings was identified as Danycka Milis, 18, and Domynick Milis, 21, in a letter sent on Wednesday from the School District of Omro, Wis., where both had graduated. . . .

“Fifty prior arrests. I don’t know what to say.” Watch the video:


Car thieves are dangerous criminals. This is not a trivial offense. And yet for some reason Reginald Harris, whose prior record included carjacking and armed home invasion, was not behind bars. Two innocent young people are dead because this career criminal was turned loose. The only consolation is that Harris also died in the crash, so that he is no longer a danger to the law-abiding citizens of Florida. Meanwhile, in Georgia . . .


On the night of July 14, Vincent Demario Truitt, 17, was one of three teenagers riding in a car they’d stolen in Atlanta earlier that day. They made the mistake of crossing the river into Cobb County, where police spotted the stolen car and gave chase. Evidently unfamiliar with the area, the 17-year-old driver (who was wanted on a separate arrest warrant) turned into a dead-end. When the car stopped, the driver took off on foot, and then Truitt exited the vehicle with a pistol in his hand.

Bad idea.

Seeing the pistol, the officer fired twice, hitting Truitt with both shots, and he died. Because we are living in the #BlackLivesMatter era, however, the death of this car thief has become a subject of protests.


“Justice for Vincent”? Car thief gets shot — that’s not justice?

But no, the dead criminal’s family wants $50 million:

The family of a teenager killed by police wants Cobb County to pay them $50 million or face a lawsuit.
A Cobb County police officer shot 17-year-old Vincent Truitt twice in the back as he ran away.
“Cobb County! The blood is on your hands,” said Truitt’s grandmother Deborah Johnson. “You can do the right thing or you can be forced to do the right thing.”
At a news conference Friday, Truitt’s family wore shirts that said “Why did you shoot me?”
Those were the teen’s dying words.
Truitt’s family and their attorneys learned that when former Cobb County District Attorney Joyette Holmes met with the family in November and showed them body camera footage of the fatal shooting.
Last fall, law enforcement sources also corroborated the details of the body camera video to Channel 2 Cobb County Bureau Chief Chris Jose.
“Since when did running away become a death sentence?” said Truitt’s mother, Venethia Cook-Lewis. “This officer not only killed Vincent, but he killed me, too.”
In a legal document called an ante litem notice, addressed to Cobb Commission Chairwoman Lisa Cupid and Cobb Police Chief Tim Cox, the family’s attorneys presented a claim for excessive force and wrongful death.
“This is a case where clearly it’s not just excessive force, this was a murder. This was a murder of an innocent young man that was literally running away from police. [He] did not pose a threat in any way,” said Truitt family attorney Jackie Patterson.
Patterson said Cobb County has 30 days to respond. If the $50 million settlement is declined, a lawsuit will be filed.
“No amount of money will bring my son back. No amount of money will fill the emptiness inside my heart. No amount of money will help my sleepless nights. Money won’t make it right,” said Cook-Lewis. “Cobb County, release the tapes. The same way you released several false statements. The public should know the truth.” . . .
“We want the firing of that officer, and we want the termination of [Police Chief] Tim Cox,” said Truitt family attorney Gerald Griggs.
Griggs and his co-counsel, Maria Banjo, told reporters there is sufficient probable cause for newly-elected Cobb County District Attorney Flynn Broady to present the case to a magistrate court judge and obtain an arrest warrant for the officer involved.
“On the face of this [body camera] video, there is sufficient probable cause for his arrest,” said Banjo.
The day after his election victory, Broady told Channel 2?s Mark Winne that he would release the tape to the public with the family’s permission, or as part of the case as it moves forward.
That has not happened.
A spokeswoman for the district attorney’s office said Broady has no plans to release the body camera video before the case is presented to a grand jury.
“As of right now, it is an active case, and we don’t release evidence in active cases,” said Kim Isaza.

Now, we have not seen the bodycam video, and therefore must reserve judgment as to what happened. However, the police have said from the beginning that Truitt had a pistol in his hand when he was shot. The family, who have seen the video, does not dispute this. Yet they claim that the gun-wielding car thief was “an innocent young man.”

Here’s a question: Why wasn’t the driver shot? If this cop was just determined to shoot some black kids, why not shoot the driver?

Oh, that’s right — because the driver didn’t have a gun.

Here’s another question: Why did Vincent Truitt have a gun in his hand?

The cops have caught you in a stolen car. You’ve got a pistol. Before you exit the vehicle and take off running, should you (a) leave the gun in the car, (b) put the gun in your pocket, or (c) try running with the gun in your hand? Vincent Truitt apparently chose (c), and died as a result.

See, that’s the thing about cops: They see a suspect with a gun in his hand, they’ve got a split-second decision to make, and it’s life or death.

Truitt’s family and lawyers say he “did not pose a threat,” but the cop on the scene didn’t have the luxury of watching it on video. And I think most people would give the cop the benefit of the doubt because, frankly, most people don’t give a damn if a car thief gets shot.

In fact, I think most people wish more car thieves got shot, because a dead thief can’t steal any more cars. “Justice for Vincent,” indeed.



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