Philadelphia Police Disobey Rules, Shoot At Moving Cars, Costing City $5.8M


Not only is shooting at a moving car almost always against Philadelphia police regulations, it's also extremely dangerous, and it rarely works. Since 2002, says the Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia police officers have shot 43 people in vehicles, killing eight of them, a review of confidential police investigations has found. That has cost the city $5.8 million. Eight out of 10 times that police shot into vehicles, officers were found to have violated department policy. The most common punishment for those found guilty of violating the rules was a reprimand.

The Inquirer's analysis of vehicle shootings is based on Internal Affairs documents gathered from civil litigation and interviews with attorneys, police, and community members. Philadelphia police have repeatedly narrowed the circumstances in which officers can fire their weapons but the problem persists. Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey tightened the rules on firing at moving vehicles a year ago after two undercover officers shot and critically wounded a pizza deliveryman, an incident still under investigation by the district attorney. Ramsey prohibited officers from firing at a vehicle unless they themselves were under fire. Since then, police have shot people inside moving vehicles at least four times, wounding three. Ramsey acknowledges that his department needs better tactics and training when it comes to suspects fleeing in cars.

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