Addis Police officer David Cauthron was arrested yesterday for killing two teenage girls on New Year's Eve. Maggie Dunn, 17, and Caroline Gill, 15, were minding their own business when officer Cauthron slammed his patrol car into them while trying to keep up with another vehicle alleged to have been traveling as fast as 110 MPH. He now faces two counts of negligent homicide and one count of recklessly injuring a third person. He was booked into West Baton Rouge Parish Prison on $100,000 bail where he remains in custody but that is likely to change. The Addis Police Department has suspended Cauthron from duty.
Despite this being absolutely 100% Cauthron's fault for voluntarily engaging in a high speed pursuit, the target of the pursuit is also being charged despite not having anything to do with the deaths other than being Cauthron's motive for driving recklessly. Cauthron was attempting to kidnap Tyquel Zanders for allegedly stealing the car he was driving. Police officers always have the option not to kidnap a person regardless of what that person is accused of. If that person chooses to flee that doesn't make anything the officer does trying to catch them their fault. When officers screw up and hurt bystanders they rarely take responsibility for their choices and elect instead to blame their targets as if someone in Cauthron's position had no choice but to chase Zanders. Cauthron voluntarily became a police officer, voluntarily chose to work that day, and chose of his own free will to drive so fast he alone ended up killing two innocent people. If officers don't like being blamed whenever they hurt innocent people in the name of pursuing suspects they shouldn't pursue them at all. We hope that Zanders beats his case and Cauthron is held accountable to the fullest extent allowed by law.
If an officer fires his weapon at a suspect, misses, and hits an innocent person, do they charge the suspect as if he himself pulled the trigger? This charge against Zanders is equally absurd. Zanders did not force Cauthron to chase him. Possessing a stolen car is not an emergency worth risking people's lives over, so if an officer sees his target driving so fast that the officer cannot safely keep up they're supposed to call off the pursuit or at least limit themselves to speeds they themselves can handle during the pursuit. They can always file more charges later so when the suspect finally is arrested he will get a harsher sentence. Choosing to drive too fast is always the officer's choice. If this were a shooting, we would argue that an officer is never forced to fire his gun unless the suspect has a weapon and is attempting to use it on someone. In a situation like that we would consider an allegation that the suspect forced him to fire his gun to have merit, but otherwise shooting at the suspect while probably technically legal would still be a voluntary act. When someone voluntarily does something the result is usually generally their fault. Only police officers seem to exist in a bubble where they can kill people and pass blame to someone else simply by citing their job as the motive for the killing.
According to public records, David Lee Cauthron is a 42 year old resident of Addis, Louisiana.