Fatal Baltimore Crash Sparks Debate On Police Pursuits Policy
Fatal Baltimore crash sparks debate on police pursuits policy.The death of a pedestrian, Alfred Fincher, and the collapse of a building following a police pursuit in Baltimore have ignited a debate on the policies governing police chases.
On February 8th, a fatal crash took place on the streets of Baltimore, resulting in the death of 54-year-old pedestrian Alfred Fincher. Today, the Independent Investigations Division (IID) of the Maryland Office of the Attorney General released videos of the incident, shedding light on the tragic event that took place that day.
The videos show Baltimore Police officers chasing a reportedly stolen black Hyundai Sonata down North Wolfe St. The Sonata collided with a Mitsubishi Eclipse at the intersection of North Ave, sending both vehicles onto the curb where they struck Alfred Fincher before hitting the corner of an abandoned two-story brick building. Almost immediately, the corner of the building crumbled and fell on top of the man and both cars.
Fincher was pronounced dead at the scene, and the drivers of both vehicles were taken to the hospital with injuries. Police later arrested the driver of the Sonata, Shawn Lee Brunson, 33, on vehicle theft charges. The incident has brought to light police policies regarding when to chase suspects and when to let them flee without pursuit.
Divya Potdar, an attorney representing Fincher’s surviving family, blames the police department for his death. “The officer did not break off the pursuit, and Alfred Fincher is dead,” she said.
For its part, the police department’s deputy commissioner claims that officers did not pursue the Sonata. He argues that they attempted to stop the car, but when it did not pull over, officers followed it, which explains why they show up so quickly in the video after the crash itself.
According to the Baltimore Sun, officers cannot pursue a car if the initial violation is a “crime against property” like auto theft. However, they can go after a fleeing vehicle with a felony suspect who poses an “immediate threat.” The incident is still under investigation.
Car Pursuit Ends With Building Collapse and Pedestrian Dead
The videos released by the IID provide a sobering reminder of the dangers of police pursuits and the need for strict policies governing when and how officers can engage in them. Pursuits can result in injuries and deaths not only to suspects but also to innocent bystanders like Alfred Fincher.
Police pursuits can lead to accidents and injuries, both to suspects and innocent bystanders. They can also result in property damage, as well as create a dangerous and unpredictable situation for everyone involved.
Some alternatives to police pursuits include the use of technology, such as GPS trackers, to locate stolen vehicles or suspects, as well as the use of unmarked vehicles to follow suspects discreetly. Police departments can also adopt policies that prioritize public safety over apprehending suspects, such as discontinuing a pursuit if it becomes too dangerous.
Police chases result in an average of 300 fatalities per year in the United States.
Policies for police pursuits vary by state and department but typically require officers to balance the need to apprehend suspects with the risk to public safety. Pursuits are generally only allowed for serious crimes and when the danger posed by the suspect outweighs the danger of the pursuit.
With the investigation into the fatal Baltimore crash sparks debate on police pursuits policy, it is important to take a closer look at the policies governing police pursuits and to ensure that they are designed to minimize the risk of harm to all involved. In the end, the goal should be to keep our communities safe while also protecting the rights and well-being of all members of society.