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In Move for More Reform, Chicago Will Ban Most Police Pursuits on Foot

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Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has announced that Chicago police will not be allowed to pursue criminals on foot, except in certain circumstances.

The move comes after rising protests surrounding the shooting deaths of two suspects on two separate occasions.

Adam Toledo was just thirteen when he was shot in the back while fleeing from police on Chicago’s West Side on March 29. Two days later, police shot Anthony Alvarez, 22, as they pursued him on foot. Both suspects were armed, but bodycam footage appears to show young Adam tossing a gun and beginning to raise his hands when he was shot.

The new policies take affect June 11 and declare foot pursuits can only be used “when there is probable cause for an arrest or it is believed an individual has committed, is committing or is about to commit a crime.” Foot pursuits will be banned from use in minor traffic offenses or criminal offenses that amount to less than a Class A misdemeanor. There is an exception: if police believe the suspect poses an immediate threat. Officers will also be required to cease any chases if there is a victim in need of aid.

From USA Today:

Under the policy, which takes effect June 11, foot pursuits are “appropriate only when there is probable cause for an arrest or it is believed an individual has committed, is committing or is about to commit a crime.” The policy prohibits foot pursuits stemming from minor traffic offenses or for criminal offenses less than a Class A misdemeanor, “unless the person poses an obvious threat to the community or any person.”

Officers are directed to discontinue foot pursuits if someone is injured and requires immediate medical assistance, if officers are unaware of their location, if officers engaged in the pursuit believe they would not be able to control the suspect if a confrontation were to occur, and “if the need to apprehend the subject is not worth the risk to responding officers, the public or the subject,” according to the new policy.

Bodycams will be required to be activated once a foot pursuit is initiated.

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