June 9, 2015
DENVER – The Denver Police Department announced this morning that it has officially changed its policy regarding officers shooting at moving vehicles. Under the new policy, officers can no longer fire on a moving vehicle because they believe that the vehicle is being used as a weapon. Officers are also instructed to use good judgment and stay out of the path of moving vehicles.
The ACLU of Colorado called for similar changes to the Department’s policy, as well as more effective training for officers, at a press conference held days after Denver police officers shot and killed 17-year-old Jessie Hernandez.
Today, ACLU of Colorado Executive Director Nathan Woodliff-Stanley issued the following statement:
“The ACLU of Colorado is encouraged that the Denver Police Department will follow the trend of departments throughout the country and no longer allow its officers to consider a vehicle as a weapon in order to justify firing on the driver. Safety and common sense dictate that officers should get out of the way of a moving vehicle rather than using potentially deadly force on the occupants. As the new policy correctly states, ‘shooting at moving vehicles is dangerous because it rarely stops a vehicle and disabling a driver creates an out-of-control car that is also a danger.’
“It is unfortunate that it took four officer-involved shootings at moving vehicles in less than a year, including the killing of unarmed 17-year-old Jessie Hernandez, for the Denver Police Department to finally make this change. It is imperative, in order to prevent more unnecessary deaths and injuries, that every officer is fully trained and held accountable to the new directives of this policy.”