Saint Paul, MN – A small crowd gathered on the West Side of St. Paul Sunday afternoon to demand justice for a woman who was fatally run over by a teenage driver. According to family and witnesses, Karina Chosa, a 35-year-old mother of three fell in the street and was fatally hit by a 16-year-old driver who has not been charged.
The incident took place November 17, around 6 p.m. near the corner of George Street and Stryker Avenue in Saint Paul. Karina’s mother, Michelle Gonzalez, said that the vehicle dragged her body down the road before stopping, leaving Karina with more than a dozen broken bones.
The teenage driver, who is white, spoke with police at the scene and was not detained nor has he been charged with any crime for causing Chosa’s death.
“Because we’re Native American we don’t get no justice when it comes to our kids getting killed.”Michelle Gonzalez, mother of Karina Chosa
Karina’s mother told Unicorn Riot that her daughter’s three children are all under 10.
“I don’t know what to tell my grandkids.”Michelle Gonzalez, mother of Karina Chosa
Gonzalez said the family “asked the investigator if there was any toxicology done and they just said [the driver] seemed to be fine.” The incident is still under investigation by the police. The family says they do not consider this an accident. They believe the driver wasn’t paying attention to the road and that speeding likely played a role.
The fact that the youth is white and the victim is Indigenous brings forward the ugly reality that race plays in similar incidents of killings, ‘accidents’, and deaths at the hands of white perpetrators. In recent years, there have been numerous occurrences of people of color who’ve been killed or severely injured by white people in the Twin Cities and the victim’s families have received no justice.
Community organizers pointed to the racial bias within the local prosecuting county attorney’s offices and the police forces which allow these deaths to occur with no accountability. Because of immense racial disparities in Saint Paul, the Ramsey County Attorney’s Office was chosen by Vera Institute as one of three offices across the country to take part in a pilot program meant to create racial equity in prosecutions.
Supporters at Sunday’s rally hoped for Chosa’s family to get justice. Chosa’s sister has put together a GoFundMe to help support her children.