Did Federal Agents Follow Use of Force Policies in Killing Capitol Driver?


It’s not clear whether federal agents complied with use of force policies when they fired seven shots at an unarmed driver with a toddler as her car rushed away from them in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, the Washington Post reports. Most big-city police agencies prohibit or strictly limit their officers from shooting at moving vehicles. Several experts said the shooting was justified, given the intensity and uncertainty of the chase and the fact that driver Miriam Carey tried to breach security at two high-profile terrorist targets — the White House and the Capitol. Other experts questioned whether lethal force was needed.

Chuck Wexler of the Police Executive Research Forum, which has long recommended bans on shooting at moving cars, cautioned that there are exceptions and that each case is unique. He said “it's very important to think, what did the officers know at that point in time versus what we know today.” Joseph Pollini, a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and a retired New York police commander, questioned agents shooting at the vehicles and has concerns about the final, fatal shots. “If she wasn't using any physical force, I don't know why they opened fire on her,” Pollini said. “Just because she didn't get out of the car if they told her to get out of the car is not sufficient to use deadly force.”

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