No longer will the police have to justify high-speed police chases with the reasonable belief that the driver is suspected to have committed a “violent crime.” Today, the mere fact that a car is reported as stolen will justify a high-speed chase down Louisville city streets, putting countless other motorists and pedestrians at great risk of death.
I find it outrageous that the City of Louisville learned nothing from the tragic loss of lives of four children in 2008, killed in a violent high-speed car crash caused entirely by a high-speed police chase, initiated because the vehicle in which the children were passengers was reported stolen. The fair market value of the stolen vehicle was approximately $500.00. The pursuing police officers were chasing the car down a rain-slick 3rd street with no reason to suspect that the operator of the stolen vehicle had committed a “violent crime.” Many pedestrians’ lives were put at risk and four children died, all because the police put the importance of apprehending a stolen vehicle above the lives of passengers and the pedestrian public. In fact, it was a public outcry over tragedies like this which prompted a change in the policy to require a reasonable belief that the driver had committed a violent crime and was fleeing apprehension.
Nothing about the nature of criminal activity in our community has changed to justify rolling back the clock to a terribly dangerous policy.
While today’s news report suggests that this is a “temporary” change in the policy, I do hope our community speaks out and persuades the LMPD to stop this wrong-headed policy.