Western Michigan Teen Killed in Police Chase: Prosecutor Decides

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Tragedy in Kent County: Officer’s Actions Sparked Controversy

In a heart-wrenching incident that has sparked intense debate, Kent County prosecutor Chris Becker has declined to charge a police officer for fatally striking a 17-year-old boy during a high-speed chase. However, the teen driver involved in the incident has been charged with causing death while fleeing from police.

Unresolved Tragedy

Riley Doggett, a teenager brimming with potential, met an untimely demise when a patrol car driven by a deputy sheriff collided with him on April 8. Doggett’s head injuries proved too severe, leading to his passing on May 9.

As the chase unfolded across Kent and Ottawa counties, Doggett and another teen exited a stolen Range Rover after it crashed into parked cars in a commercial area. Despite the gravity of the pursuit, Becker emphasized that the deputy believed Doggett posed a threat, even though the teen was holding a cell phone, not a weapon.

Debated Use of Force

“He was not trying to use deadly force against a fleeing felon,” Becker explained. “He was trying to cut him off.”

According to the prosecutor, the deputy’s patrol car collided with Doggett’s leg, resulting in the tragic outcome. The incident has sparked a heated debate about the use of force by police officers.

Family’s Plea for Justice

Ven Johnson, an attorney representing Doggett’s family, has called upon authorities to release dashcam footage and other details of the incident. He expressed frustration that the family had been kept in the dark for an extended period.

“Even if the teen had done something reckless, he did not deserve to become a victim of illegal, unnecessary, deadly force,” Johnson stated.

Remembering a Young Life

Doggett’s mother, Becky Wilbert, described her son as a kind and compassionate young man who brought joy to his family.

“He was funny, intelligent, and excelled academically,” Wilbert recalled. “He had a natural ability to make everyone laugh and was the glue that held our family together.”

Call for Accountability

Johnson maintains that the police are entrusted with the responsibility of apprehending suspects, not administering justice arbitrarily.

“It is their sworn duty to arrest criminals, not to act as judge, jury, and executioner,” he asserted.

The incident continues to weigh heavily on the community as both the authorities and the family wait anxiously for further developments in this complex and emotionally charged case.