Last week, Jessica Hernandez’s joyride in a stolen car with four other teenage girls came to a violent end in Denver. They were cruising a middle-class neighborhood in someone else’s Honda when they were spotted by police, says the Los Angeles Times. The officers said they ordered the girls out of the car, but that instead Hernandez, 17, tried to run them down, so they opened fire, killing her. The incident marks the fourth time in seven months that Denver police have fired on moving vehicles they say were being used as deadly weapons. Two of those shootings resulted in the drivers’ deaths.
“There are unfortunately too many civilians being shot too frequently in Denver and the rest of the country as well,” said Mark Silverstein of the American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado. “The emerging trend in law enforcement is that if a moving vehicle is coming toward you, don’t shoot — get out of the way.” Police Chief Robert White says he is reassessing the department’s policy. “Most progressive police departments in this country and around the world prohibit it, with the very small caveat of saying you can do it if you are trapped,” said Geoffrey Alpert, professor of criminal justice and an expert in police use of force at the University of South Carolina. “Shoot the driver and you have an unguided missile.”