This case involves a family of 5 that was caught in the crossfire of a police chase. Several officers were pursuing a man suspected of burglary in a high-speed chase. As the officers passed through a busy intersection, they opened fire at the vehicle they were pursuing. The family was waiting at the stop light at the time of the incident. More than 20 shots were fired, and the driver was hit 3 times and killed on the scene. The driver was unarmed, and no weapons were found after a search of the area. An expert in police protocol and procedures who has trained officers on how to conduct themselves in high-speed pursuits was sought to determine whether the officers acted appropriately.
Question(s) For Expert Witness
- 1. Have you trained or supervised police officers on vehicle pursuit protocol? Please explain.
- 2. In what circumstances is it permissible for an officer to discharge their firearm?
Expert Witness Response E-071642
I have trained and supervised police officers on vehicle pursuit protocol as a police academy instructor and lieutenant working in the field. In my professional opinion, an officer can only discharge their firearm to protect citizens or themselves from force used by a perpetrator that can cause a serious physical injury or death. I am a recognized expert in this field and have served as an expert witness in similar cases involving police officers accused of wrongfully using deadly physical force.