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Minnesota Legislature

New Law: Tougher penalty for fleeing officer

Published (7/15/2011)
By Mike Cook
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The crime of fleeing a peace officer when the result of doing so results in a death that does not constitute murder or manslaughter has been modified.

Effective Aug. 1, 2011, a new law extends current law to situations where a suspect initially flees police in a motor vehicle, but abandons the vehicle and continues to flee in another way.

Current flee-on-foot statute does not address penalties for causing serious harm or death to others if pursuit of a felonious criminal goes from vehicle to foot. However, if the occupants are still in the car, they can be charged for all the harm caused by their actions.

The impetus for the bill occurred on Nov. 1, 2007, when Mark Bedard, an officer with the Minneapolis Park Police, was in pursuit of two suspects in a pair of drive-by shootings.

After the suspects bailed from their vehicle, the chase continued on foot until Bedard was hit by a squad car in an alley. He died nine days later.

Because Bedard’s injuries occurred during a foot chase, the suspects could not be charged under statute. They did plead guilty to felony drive-by shooting and received sentences of less than four years in prison.

Rep. John Kriesel (R-Cottage Grove) and Sen. John Harrington (DFL-St. Paul) are the sponsors.

HF361*/ SF515/CH32

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