Reno Berkeley

The woman who was shot dead after a D.C. police chase had worked as a dental hygienist and was the mother of an 18-month-old baby, but police are saying that Miriam Carey was mentally unstable and had a history of mental illness.

Her former boss and neighbors in Brooklyn, however, say she was a happy, stable individual. Her former boss, Dr. Brian Evans, told reporters that she "seemed happy but tended to go against the grain a bit."

During her employment with Evans, she had a pretty bad fall down some stairs and had a significant head injury. But even after that, Evans said it did not affect her work, and was not the reason she was let go from her job after two years. During her stay in the hospital for the head injury, she discovered she was pregnant and appeared to be happy with the news that she was to become a mother.

So, what prompted the Connecticut woman to lead police on a chase, endangering her child, ramming a police car and hitting two cops in the process? Could it all have been a terrible mistake? Could Carey simply have been frightened into a state of panic and fleeiing the swarm of officers who surrounded her car near a barricade? We may never know, because she is dead and her child is now in foster care.

In researching this story, I discovered that when the Secret Service police initially stopped her near the White House (where it appeared she tried to drive into the White House), they were looking directly into her car. They had guns pointed at her windows. One was looking into an open passenger side window. They say they did not know a child was in the back seat, but how could they have missed it if they had a verbal exchange with Carey? Granted, she had tinted windows, but how does a group of professionals not make sure the back seat is empty before requesting authorization to use lethal force against someone who never fired a single shot?

Why was lethal force authorized to begin with? All they had to do was use tire spikes, or shoot out her tires. Instead, according to a New York Daily News article, she drove through a hail of bullets, and then crashed into a cruiser, and was then again surrounded and bombarded with another rain of bullets. No gun was found in Carey's car. No motive so far is evident. The 34-year-old mother could have been having a bad day and made the wrong decision that led to her death. So, why are police so intent on painting her as a woman with mental health issues if everyone that knew her seems to say the exact opposite?

Obviously, she was driving erratically. There is no doubt about that. She rammed a police car while initially trying to get away. There's not an argument for that. She barrelled through another cruiser and then a police barricade. You'll get no argument from me about that. She injured two officers in the process of her getaway. Still, the main issue that nags at me is the fact that not once did Carey fire a bullet. Why did no one think to shoot out her tires? Why didn't anyone bring out spikes to blow them out? Why shower her car with a volley of bullets?

Right now, police are searching Carey's Connecticut condominium for clues about what caused her reckless driving and death. But until then, the question of whether police really needed to kill her remains the elephant in the room.

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