I’ve done an informal poll of teenagers and their parents to find out how the teens would react if they were somewhere they weren’t suppose to be, doing something that they shouldn’t and law enforcement drove up.
“I would run” was the most common reply. Why? “Because if the cops catch me, I’m in trouble, probably with my parents more than the cops. If I get away, then no harm, no foul. Besides, if they catch me, what’s the worse that can happen to me…I’m a juvenile.”
Another described how she and a group of friends were drinking beer in a parking lot near some woods. When a cop drove up, they all scattered into the woods, even though the cop was yelling at them to stop.
Most of the parents first said that their teen would have stopped if a law enforcement officer told them to do so. They admitted though it’s not something that ever told their teen. “It’s common sense,” one father said. That father later called me back to say that his son said he would try to escape, too. “Dad, your punishment is worse than anything the cops would do.”
There are some that one believe that Victor Steen ran because he was black and the cop was white. I think Steen may have ran because he was simply teenager hoping to escape getting hassled by a cop. He never considered that the cop would shoot at him. After all, he was on bike.
My research only covered a dozen teens, so I will admit its more anecdotal than hard stats. I would be interested in what others have to say—-either teens, 20-somethings or their parents.