Crusader Staff Report
An officer cannot shoot a fleeing person unless he presents an imminent threat to police or others, according to a new Use of Force rule announced by the Chicago Police Department on Wednesday, May 17.
The new rule replaced a previous one that allowed officers to shoot any person who was fleeing after committing or trying to commit a felony using force.
The policy changes aim to reduce questionable shootings and other uses of force that have escalated among police officers in recent years. Activists have often criticized the department for being too liberal in using too much force to subdue people suspected of wrongdoing.
Although changes tighten many of the department rules that experts and advocates sought, the rules however, do not go as far as those proposed by Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson in October. That’s when Johnson and Mayor Rahm Emanuel were under heavy federal scrutiny amid the continuing fallout over the video of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald being shot. The changes announced Wednesday resemble the scaled-back proposal made by Johnson in March after rank-and-file police officers complained that his first proposal was too extreme.
Still, the policy changes represent a milestone for the CPD, which has been dogged by charges of police brutality for decades.
The new policy also requires officers to use their new de-escalation training to try to defuse incidents.
The rules will be effective this fall, after officers have received four hours of in-person training. That will be followed by eight additional hours of training next year.