Thursday, December 9, 2021
HomeNewsDC Police May Be Banned From Most Car Chases via New Bill

DC Police May Be Banned From Most Car Chases via New Bill

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DC Councilmembers Trayon White and Janeese Lewis George introduced this week a bill that would restrict the use of police chases to protect the safety of residents in the District.

“Verdicts are not substitutes for policy change,” said Ward 4 Councilmember George. “Police chases are inherently dangerous for officers, suspects, and bystanders, and they should only be used when absolutely necessary. An officer’s decision of whether to speed after someone should always prioritize safety and safeguard human life.”

Titled the Law Enforcement Vehicular Pursuit Reform Act of 2021, the bill is aiming to prevent law enforcement officers from pursuing suspects in vehicles unless there is a violent crime involved or it is a matter of preventing death or serious injury.

It also cites Karon Hylton-Brown, a 20-year-old Black resident, who died in October 2020 after he was struck by a car while riding a scooter and being chased by DC police officers trying to stop him for not wearing a helmet.

“Part of seeking justice for Karon is making sure that what happened to him never happens to anyone again,” said George.

Police officers must ensure that the pursuit itself would not possibly cause death or serious harm to anyone in order for the pursuit to be permissible, according to the legislation, which also “provides necessary guidance for deciding when to pursue a suspect and prohibits the use of dangerous pursuit tactics such as ramming or roadblocking vehicles,” according to George.

The other councilmembers who co-introduced the bill are Mary Cheh, Robert White, Brianne Nadeau and Anita Bonds.

The District’s Police Reform Commission recently made recommendations in its report about restricting vehicle pursuits, saying that the action is dangerous and potentially fatal and the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) is not complying with its own policies.

 

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