In less than two months, Indianapolis police have shot and killed two people after opening fire on moving cars in two separate incidents, raising new questions about when the use of such deadly force is appropriate, reports the Indianapolis Star. The shootings come three years after police changed its use-of-force policy, allowing officers to fire their weapons at a car's driver if it is “reasonably perceived that the vehicle is being used as a weapon against the officer or others.” The previous policy, which prohibited shooting at or from moving vehicles, was changed to be less restrictive.
That policy is shared by some U.S. police departments. Others, such as Denver, New York, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Miami Beach, Los Angeles and Albuquerque, explicitly prohibit officers from discharging their weapons unless deadly force is being used against them by means other than a moving vehicle–for example, if shots are being fired from the vehicle. But with more than 17,000 police agencies in the U.S., there's no coherent national policy. “In the year 2015, there's absolutely no excuse for departments not having a state-of-the-art deadly force policy which prohibits shooting at moving vehicles,” said Samuel Walker of the University of Nebraska Omaha, a police accountability expert.