9 AM Saturday 15th September 2012 Nunhead Heights

Was this accident caused by a police chase?

I hate to criticize the police.

I’m the kind of person the police are here to protect. And I wouldn’t want to be a cop – it seems like a horrible job. I’m glad I don’t have to do it.

I was surprised by the scale of the lying by the police regarding the Hillsborough football ground tragedy slash mass murder.

When I was 18, my father was put in hospital and nearly died after the car he was driving was hit by a speeding policeman on Middle Neck Road in my hometown of Great Neck, New York. It was by the Shell Station, across from the A & P supermarket, at the intersection of Allenwood Road.

What was that policeman racing to in Great Neck, one of the safest, most prosperous places in all of America? Was the cop who almost killed my father fired? Or even disciplined? From what I know, no.

A couple of years ago my car was pushed into a fender bender by a speeding cop blasting his siren and creating chaos on the road to Clapham. That’s a common occurrence on the streets of London. Did the policeman have to fill out a report every time he went over the speed limit? I don’t think so.

Last year, I was walking home one late morning from my kids’ school assembly and saw an overturned car in the street and a dazed man talking to the police.

According to the story I pieced from the police and the accident victim, a police car had been chasing a suspected burglar driving a stolen car  down Canonbie Road in Forest Hill into oncoming traffic on Forest Hill Road.

The alleged fugitive’s car hit a motorist driving down Forest Hill Road and the innocent motorist did complete spin and his car landed on its side.

Another police car, according to the police, “just happened” to be following behind the innocent motorist and that police car “just happened” to witness the accident. “Sure” I thought.

It was luck or God that the innocent motorist walked away. A second earlier the speeder would have hit a mother pushing a baby in a pram across Canonbie Road, the dazed drive told me. Two hours earlier he might have plowed into a streetful of children and parents – possibly my kids and me – on the way to the schools up the hill.

When I arrived the police were gathered around the dazed motorist. The leader of the police – I am not sure of his title – I heard the main cop tell the poor driver of the wrecked car that the police didn’t cause the accident and that the police had just “witnessed” the accident.

The poor man had just been in a horrific car crash and seemed in a state of shock. The message from the Metropolitan Police, as I heard it: Do not blame us.

Would the alleged burglar have been speeding if the cops hadn’t been speeding behind him? I don’t think so. Was that man a burglar, at all? Who knows.

The police should not be allowed to do Hollywood-style car chases – killing and maiming and scaring to death innocent people. The police must obey the law. As I remember, in New York City, whenever a policeman fires his gun he is taken off  the streets and the incident is investigated.

If a policeman speeds, which is against the law for the average subject, and endangers ordinary citizens, as well as himself, he should be made to justify it. He should, at the very least, have to file a report. That will make our streets safer by forcing cops to think twice about racing down our streets.

And of course, the police shouldn’t be allowed to lie.

I thought of the speeding incidents when I heard that police had lied about what happened at Hillsborough. Every day, there are probably hundreds of mini-Hillsboroughs where the police do wrong and get away with it.

That “lucky” man with the wrecked car on Forest Hill Road: That could have been his personal Hillsborough. I’m glad it wasn’t mine.

Let me know what you think.

@lewisschaffer – twitter feed

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