Chicago police unveil long-awaited foot-chasing policy

CHICAGO “Chicago police will no longer have the right to pursue people on foot simply because they fled or committed minor crimes,” the department said Tuesday, more than a year after a two-legged chase that ended in deadly police officers shooting a 13-year-old boy and 22 -year-old man.

The new policy adheres closely to the draft policy introduced after these shootings and gives the department something it has never had: permanent rules on when employees can and cannot take part in activities that could endanger themselves, those who they also chase passers-by.

Chicago Police Chief David Brown said he expects the new policy to make employees and the public safer, as has happened in other cities with similar policies.

“The impact on crime has been studied (and we can look back on what has made employees safer, made communities safer for more than a decade,” he told reporters at a press briefing on the policy he expects. to be introduced by the end of the summer, after all officers have been trained.


According to the rules, employees can prosecute if they believe that a person is committing or about to commit a crime, a Class A crime, such as a household battery, or a serious traffic violation that could risk injuring others, such as drunk driving. condition or street races.

Employees will not be allowed to harass people on foot if they suspect minor offenses such as parking violations, driving with revoked books or drinking alcohol in public places. However, they will still be free to prosecute people they deem to be committing or are about to commit crimes that pose an “obvious threat to everyone”.

Perhaps most importantly, politics makes it clear that the days of officers being persecuted just because someone is trying to avoid them are over.

“People can avoid contact with a member for many reasons other than engaging in criminal activity,” the policy said.


The names of 13-year-old Adam Toledo and 22-year-old Anthony Alvarez, who were armed when they fled police in separate pursuits in March 2021, are not mentioned in the news release announcing the policy or the policy itself. But these persecutions – especially Alvarez’s – cast a shadow over politics.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot asked the department to set up a temporary policy after the shooting, and the district attorney general sharply criticized the police for persecuting Alvarez. It also seems that the police department has made efforts to ban this type of foot persecution.


According to the politician, the persecution of Alvarez would obviously not be allowed for two main reasons. First, when police prosecuted him for trespassing, they knew who he was and where he lived, Cook County Attorney Kim Fox told reporters in March, announcing that officers involved in the two shootings would not be charged. Second, officials are no longer allowed to prosecute people who are suspected of the minor offenses that led to the persecution.

The policy includes a number of circumstances in which an employee must cancel a harassment, including requiring the harassment to end if a third party is injured and needs immediate medical attention that cannot be provided by anyone else. If employees realize that they do not know exactly where they are, which is possible in a chaotic situation in which they run along the alleys and between houses, they must stop. And if they find that they can’t communicate with other officers because they miss their radio stations or for some other reason, they have to stop.


The policy also makes sense to remind employees that they or their supervisors will not be criticized or disciplined for deciding against persecution or revocation – the importance of a law professor who studied the department and was part of a legal team. who is successfully fighting the city for refusing to play a video of a police shooting, said it could not be overstated.

“How do you change the culture in which you have to chase these bad guys, no matter how dangerous they are to everyone around you?” Said Craig Futterman, a law professor at the University of Chicago. “You create policies that make it so that you can do it so that you can do it. “Don’t be disciplined, chewed, criticized for following politics and not engaging in inherently dangerous actions.”

Employees are also prohibited from provoking harassment, such as using tactics that speed up with their teams to a group of people, stop abruptly, and jump out “with the intention of stopping everyone in the group who is fleeing.”


The city was waiting for politics long before the shootings of Toledo and Alvarez.

Five years ago, the US Department of Justice issued a scathing report saying that too much police harassment in the city is unnecessary or ends up with officers shooting at people they shouldn’t have shot. And three years ago, a judge signed a decree of consent, which included a requirement to adopt a foot-pursuit policy.

The city also had ample evidence of the dangers of foot persecution, including a Chicago Tribune investigation that found that one-third of the city’s police shootings from 2010 to 2015 involved injuring or killing someone during a chase.

Police officers dismissed any allegations that they were procrastinating, saying the department had met deadlines.


But Chicago has not taken the lead on the issue, as other major cities such as Baltimore, Philadelphia and Portland, Oregon, have already implemented foot-pursuit policies, and Futterman said the department has resisted the following example for years, despite knowing how dangerous can be foot chases. .

Still, he praised the department.

“Lives are lost and having one (a foot-chasing policy) and having teeth … will save lives,” he said.

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Chicago police unveil long-awaited foot-chasing policy

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