While researching the Texas Department of Public Safety’s history of using excessive force, the Austin American Statesman stumbled across footage of a high-speed police pursuit that lasted 38 miles and ended when the cop shot the suspect and forced him off his motorcycle with what the New York Daily News colorfully describes as a “leaping karate kick.”
Just past midnight on December 23, 2012, in unincorporated Chambers County, Texas, 25-year-old Steven Gaydos ran a stop sign on his Suzuki 750. DPS Trooper Abraham Martinez, who happened to be waiting in a nearby parking lot, pulled out in his cop car in pursuit of the scofflaw motorcyclist.
But Gaydos didn’t stop. And neither did Martinez. Hitting speeds of up to 130 miles an hour, Martinez followed Gaydos through nearly 40 miles of east Texas highway, and finally pulled alongside his target and, from the window of his vehicle, fired his .375 handgun four times. One of the bullets penetrated Gaydos’ right thigh.
Injured, Gaydos finally pulled over and sat on his motorcycle to wait for police. Gaydos had been driving with a suspended license, and he hadn’t wanted his motorcycle confiscated by police, but Gaydos’ ability to flee had suddenly become more limited, what with the cop firing at him and the gunshot wound in the leg.