By Andrew Keller, Multimedia Journalist - bio | email
FLINT, MI (WNEM) -
Family and friends gathered Tuesday night to mourn the loss of a woman killed in a traffic accident involving a Michigan State Police trooper and now, that crash has the department and state under fire.
Nearly 30 loved ones lit candles Tuesday night to honor the life of 64-year-old Jacqueline Nichols, who they say didn't deserve to die the way she did.
Nichols was with two friends when a Michigan State Police cruiser involved in a high speed chase hit their vehicle.
Family members told TV5 Nichols lived in the same neighborhood for many years and was touted as a person who would be there for everyone, and as a woman who would give the shirt off of her back to help somebody in need.
But now, the state and the Michigan State Police Department are facing a $50 million wrongful death lawsuit and now pressure from the NAACP to change the policy on police chases.
Nationally-known attorney Geoffrey Fieger is representing Nichols family. He said the lawsuit also targets the trooper who was driving at the time.
"I do not believe that the Michigan State Police will do anything to the officer. I would like to see the officer charged with negligent manslaughter, or negligent homicide," said Fieger.
On Tuesday, the Flint chapter of the NAACP also announced it is getting involved. In a letter addressed to Governor Rick Snyder, the civil rights advocacy group is asking for immediate changes and writes, in part, "You sent the Michigan State Police to assist the Flint Police Department in combating crime, not recklessly chasing traffic violators and racially profiling our citizens. Enough is enough!!!!"
Meanwhile, the state police say the crash is under investigation.
"Whenever any police officer decides to pursue any individual, it's always a very difficult decision," said MSP Lt. Brian Cole.
Copyright 2014 WNEM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
Tuesday, July 29 2014 10:11 AM EDT2014-07-29 14:11:15 GMT
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