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Police Officer Will Not Be Charged For Killing Napster Exec While Texting And Driving — Because It's Apparently OK For Police To Do That

Milton Olin
Milton Olin

Milton Olin / LinkedIn

Napster COO Milton Olin.

Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy Andrew Wood will not be charged for fatally running over former Napster COO Milton Olin Jr. in his patrol car while the officer was typing a message into his computer.

We first saw the news on Valleywag, but there is good coverage in the Daily News and LAist.

The instance exposes the different way that law enforcement officials are treated versus civilians in cases where a person is killed because of texting while driving.

It's illegal to text and drive in California; the state has a specific law against it. Civilians caught doing it can expect to face charges. But a report from the Los Angeles District Attorney's office shows that the rules may be applied differently to cops.

The incident involving Olin and Wood happened in December 2013 in Calabasas, California. Olin, a key figure at the peer-to-peer music-sharing company that pioneered the online music download industry, was cycling in the bicycle lane when he was killed instantly by Wood's patrol car.

Wood drifted into the bicycle lane while typing a reply to a colleague who wanted to know whether any other officers were required to attend a fire reported at a high school he had just left. He was trying to tell the other officer that no further backup was needed.

The Los Angeles District Attorney's report into the incident says that even though it is illegal to text and drive, Wood was not negligent because police officers are expected to respond quickly to messages from colleagues:

LA County District Attorney
LA County District Attorney

LA County District Attorney's Office

Wood had also been texting his wife from his personal phone minutes before the crash, but those texts were not thought to have contributed to Wood's inattention while driving, the DA's office said.

In a statement taken at the scene, Wood claimed that Olin had veered into his lane. The DA reported that the opposite was true.

Deputy who killed ex-Napster COO will not be charged b/c he was answering work email http://t.co/cbtnJdtzxU pic.twitter.com/ikk50MQmmD

— daniel (@cyclingreporter) August 28, 2014

Many of Los Angeles' cyclists are furious at the lack of charges, according to the LAist. "To say biking advocates are unhappy with the DA's decision to not press charges is an understatement."

There is a petition to prosecute Deputy Andrew Wood on Change.org.

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