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St. Louis NAACP leaders are asking police to revise their pursuit policy

In the last month, 7 people were killed in car crashes caused by suspects speeding from police. The NAACP say it's become a public safety emergency.

ST. LOUIS — Local NAACP leaders held a press conference on the corner of Delmar and Pendleton.

That's the intersection where a minivan with seven family members inside was hit by a suspect speeding away from police. An 18-year-old, Marshawn Stepney, faces 17 charges, including murder, after five family members died in that crash.

RELATED: 18-year-old charged in connection with crash that killed 5 members of family

"It's no different than being hit by a stray bullet. It's just a bigger piece of metal," St. Louis City NAACP President Adolphus Pruitt said.

Pruitt and St. Louis County NAACP President John Bowman held a public meeting right where a suspect who sped away from police, hit a minivan and killed five people.

"That could've been me. That could've been anybody coming through here," a neighbor said.

"People in stolen cars run from police and when they do that, they don't care about who's in their way," Pruitt said.

Within the last month, seven people were killed in car crashes that resulted from suspects speeding away from police.

"There needs to be a very transparent process for the public to see and understand what are the policies that govern these sort of chases, how are they being implemented in the field and is there anything that can be done to try and stop what is happening on an ongoing basis?" Pruitt said.

The NAACP sent an advisory notice to local police departments, asking to revise their pursuit policy. 

"We have it. It's very specific and in fact, it's one of the more conservative ones across the country," St. Louis Metropolitan Police Chief John Hayden said.

Hayden discussed police pursuits during a public safety meeting with the Board of Aldermen last week.

"We're looking at policy and whether or not it's adhered to. Of course, we would preach the policy to officers. They have to read it once a month to ensure that everybody's on the same page, but at the same time we want to make sure that people are not only reading the policy, but following the policy," Hayden said.

NAACP leaders believe it's become a public safety emergency and the policy needs to change now.

"Sorrow for the folks and victims and loss of life and anger that this happened, and that nobody has come up with a solution to keep things like this from happening," Pruitt said.

The NAACP requested the Justice Department's assistance to review and modify police chase policies and the use of spike strips within the City and County.

Police are holding a press conference Friday at noon about the crash at Delmar and Pendleton.

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