08:24 18 Jun 2003
Two straight nights of rioting in Benton Harbor, MI. This apparently stems from years of mistreatment by police and was set off when a man being pursued by police officers crashed his motorcycle and died.
The chase started in Berrien County’s Royalton Township, where a sheriff’s deputy spotted two high-performance motorcycles traveling north toward Benton Harbor at speeds surpassing 100 mph.
The deputy briefly pursued the pair but stopped because of the motorcycles’ high speed. A short time later, Benton Township Patrolman Wes Koza witnessed one of the motorcyclists speeding and running stop signs, police said.
Koza pursued the motorcycle into Benton Harbor, where it drove through yards, came back onto the street and ran more stop signs, officials said. The officer was several blocks back when Shurn’s motorcycle hit the building.
Shurn’s speed in the residential neighborhood approached 70 mph at times. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Police said they did not know why Shurn was fleeing from the officers, although his operator’s license had been suspended and officers found a small amount of marijuana on him, state police Lt. Joseph Zangaro said.