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Saturday, November 26, 2022

Chicago police ban foot chases for runaways, minor offenses

CHICAGO ( Associated Press) – Chicago police officers will no longer be allowed to chase people simply because they run away or have committed minor offenses, the department said Tuesday, more than a year after two footprints ended with officers a fatal shot. 13-year-old boy and 22-year-old man.

The new policy closely aligns with a draft policy that was put in place after those shootings and gives the department something it has never had before: permanent rules on when officers can and cannot take part in an activity that could endanger themselves. , those who persecute them and bystanders.

Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown said he expects the new policy will make officers and the public safer, as has happened in other cities with similar policies.

“The impact on crime has been studied (and) we can look back at what has made officers safer, safer communities for more than a decade,” he told reporters during a press briefing on the policy, which he expects to be in place. by the end of the summer after all officers have received training.

Under the policy, officers may prosecute if they believe a person is committing an offense or are about to commit an offense, a Class A offense such as a domestic battery, or a serious traffic offense that may pose a risk. have to injure others, such as drunk driving or street racing. .

Officers will not be allowed to chase people on foot if they suspect minor offenses such as parking offenses, driving with suspended licenses or drinking alcohol in public. But they will still have discretion to chase people who they have identified are committing crimes or committing crimes that ‘pose an obvious threat to any person’.

Perhaps most importantly, the policy makes it clear that the days of officers chasing just because someone is trying to avoid them are over.

The names of 13-year-old Adam Toledo and 22-year-old Anthony Alvarez, who were armed when they fled police in separate attempts in March 2021, are not mentioned in the news release announcing the policy or the policy itself. But that pursuit – especially that of Alvarez – casts a shadow over the policy.

Ailani Alvarez (2), Daughter Of Anthony Alvarez Who Was Shot By Police Holding A Sign Reading &Quot;I Miss My Dad&Quot; During A Demonstration On May 1, 2021 In Chicago.
Ailani Alvarez (2), daughter of Anthony Alvarez who was shot by police, holds up a sign that reads “I miss my daddy” during a May 1, 2021 protest in Chicago.

Shafkat Anowar via Associated Press

Mayor Lori Lightfoot demanded that the department create an interim policy after the shooting and the country’s top prosecutor harshly criticized the police over the Alvarez pursuit. It also appears that the police department has made an effort to ban just that kind of foot chase.

Under the policy, Alvarez’s chase would apparently not have been allowed for two key reasons. First, when police prosecuted him for a traffic offense, they knew who he was and where he lived, Cook County State Attorney Kim Foxx told reporters in March when she announced that the officers involved in the two shootings , would not be charged. Second, officers are no longer allowed to chase people on foot who are suspected of the kind of minor offense that led to the chase.

The policy includes a number of circumstances in which an officer must stop a chase, including a requirement that the pursuit end if a third party is injured and requires immediate medical attention that cannot be provided by anyone else. If officers realize they do not know exactly where they are, which is possible in a chaotic situation in which they run through alleys and between houses, they must stop. And if they find that they can not communicate with other officers because they drop their radios or for some other reason, they should stop.

“How do you change the culture that you have to chase those bad guys, no matter what, no matter how dangerous to everyone around you?” University of Chicago Law Professor Craig Futterman said. “You create policies that make it impossible for you to be disciplined, chewed, criticized because you follow a policy and do not engage in an inherently dangerous act.”

Officers are also prohibited from inciting chases, such as using a tactic in which they chase after a group of people in their group cars, suddenly stopping and jumping out “with the aim of stopping anyone in the group fleeing.”

The city has been waiting for a policy long before the shooting at Toledo and Alvarez.

Five years ago, the U.S. Department of Justice issued a scathing report stating that too many police chases in the city were unnecessary or ended with officers shooting people they did not need to shoot. And three years ago, a judge signed a consent decision that included a requirement to adopt a foot-hunting policy.

The city also had a lot of evidence about the dangers of footprints, including a Chicago Tribune investigation that found that a third of the city’s police shooting from 2010 to 2015 involved someone injured or killed during a foot chase. .

Police officers denied any suggestion that they had dragged their feet and pointed out that the department had met the set deadlines.

But Chicago has not taken the lead on the issue, with other major cities such as Baltimore, Philadelphia and Portland, Oregon already implementing foot-chasing policies, and Futterman said the department has resisted for years to follow it despite the fact that he know how dangerous footsteps can be.

Yet he praised the department.

“Lives were lost and having one (foot-tracking policy) and having one that has a few teeth … will save lives,” he said.

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