No charges for officer in death of Michigan teen struck by police car during chase

A prosecutor declined to file charges Tuesday against a police officer who struck and killed a western Michigan teenager while the boy was running from a stolen vehicle.

Kent County prosecutor Chris Becker instead charged the teen driver with causing death while fleeing from police.

Riley Doggett, 17, was hit by a patrol car driven by a sheriff's deputy at the end of a high-speed chase in Kent and Ottawa counties on April 8. He died from head injuries on May 9.

Doggett and another teenager, who was driving, were fleeing on foot from a stolen Range Rover after the vehicle crashed into parked cars in a business area, investigators said.

Becker said the deputy believed Doggett was dangerous, though the teen was holding a phone, not a gun.

“He was not trying to use deadly force against a fleeing felon. He was trying to cut him off,” the prosecutor said.

The deputy caught Doggett's leg with the side of his patrol car and the result was a “horrible thing,” Becker said.

Ven Johnson, an attorney for Doggett's family, publicly urged authorities last week to release dashcam video and other details. He said the family had been in the dark for too long.

Even if the teen had done “something stupid,” he didn't deserve to be a victim of “illegal, unnecessary, deadly force,” Johnson said Friday, a few hours before a memorial service for Doggett.

“It is their job to arrest him — period. Not be judge, jury and executioner,” Johnson said of police.

Doggett's mother, Becky Wilbert, said he was a “good kid,” regardless of the circumstances that preceded his death.

“He was funny. He was smart. He excelled in school,” Wilbert said. “He always was cracking jokes, making everybody laugh. He was the piece of our family that held everybody together.”


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Ed White, The Associated Press