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'They should've stopped': Family reacts to fatal Warren police chase that ended in Detroit

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Posted at 10:59 PM, May 15, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-16 06:06:42-04

WARREN, Mich. (WXYZ) — A man is dead after a police chase that started in Warren and ended in Detroit Wednesday afternoon with a rollover crash.

Family has identified the man as 24-year-old Jakar Knott of Detroit. They gathered near the crash site of Outer Drive and Anglin Wednesday afternoon just hours after the crash.

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An undated courtesy photo of Jakar Knott.

“If you knew him, you would love him. That's all I can say,” Jakar's sister Rashanique said.

"My child was only 24 years old. He just started his life," Jakar's mother Rashidah Knott said. "He was a high school graduate. Yeah, he had some rough times, but he was loved by everybody."

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Jakar's mother Rashidah Knott. (May 15, 2024)

The chase was initiated by Warren police, who say they tried pulling the car over near 8 Mile Road and Sherwood Street.

“Originally, it was just a traffic stop for speeding on 8 Mile,” Warren Police Commissioner Charles Rushton said. “As our officers were approaching the car, the suspect fled.”

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Warren Police Commissioner Charles Rushton talks about a deadly chase that started in Warren and ended in Detroit. (May 15, 2024)

The chase then continued into Detroit, where Rushton says the driver eventually hit a curb, flipping the vehicle on Outer Drive. Rushton says officers had began to terminate the pursuit before the crash happened.

“Our officers were backing off from the pursuit," Rushton said. "Our officers were slowing down because the speed of the pursuit.”

But neighbors say police weren’t far behind, pulling up seconds after the car crashed.

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“I seen police run up to the car with the gun, and then I looked over and that's when I seen the guy on the ground,” said neighbor Kyeisha Rowels, who heard the crash right outside her window. "I started screaming because I've never experienced nothing like that before.”

Neighbors also expressed concern over the amount of police chases they say come from Warren into Detroit.

"The feel of the community is basically pull back," said Cranstana Anderson, who's part of the Gardenia Community Block Club. "Is it that serious you have to cause a whole life by chasing them?”

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Cranstana Anderson, who's part of the Gardenia Community Block Club, talks about a deadly police chase. (May 15, 2024)

“It's not worth it. I say figure out another way to catch the person. Just chasing people through these neighborhood streets, it's not safe,” Rowels added. "We got too many kids, too many innocent bystanders."

Speaking to media on scene, Rushton was asked about their policy.

“Every department has own policy. The city of Warren's police department policy is that we judge every pursuit on a case by case basis," Rushton said. "We take a lot of things into consideration. The crimes we're chasing for, the conditions on the road, the time of day, the vehicle traffic on the roadway and pedestrian traffic in the area.”

But Jakar Knotts' family is still distraught, and wants more answers about what happened.

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Jakar's sister Rashidah Knott. (May 15, 2024)

“If they was chasing him they should've stopped," Rashidah Knott said. "Don't nobody deserve to die like that.”

“I'm sure the officers might think they had reason to pursue and that's logical because that's what their job is: to make sure they reduce crime," Anderson said. "But we just have to find another method because this right here? A whole life could have been saved today... Just not necessary, you're going to lose an officer's life one day doing that.”

Detroit police are now investigating the crash.