Denver police revise policy on shooting into moving vehicles

Shooting at a moving car is no longer an allowable form of self-defense for Denver Police, according to revised regulations for discharging firearms approved yesterday.

The change comes in the wake of January’s police-homicide of 17-year-old high-school student and poet Jessica Hernandez, who was sitting in a car with her friends when police approached it in response to a 911 call.

The officers who killed her said that she nearly hit them and that they shot in self defense. Friday, Denver’s district attorney Mitch Morrissey announced he would not indict the officers involved in the killing.

But questions linger. For example, the front window of the car appears unshattered in photographs. Her family’s attorney suggests the officers shot her from the side and were not in immediate harm’s way.

A protest of Morrissey’s decision is scheduled this afternoon.

In the past seven months, the Denver police have shot into four moving vehicles, The Denver Post has reported. One victim, Ryan Ronquillo, was killed. The others were injured.

Denver’s policy, which the department will be training officers on over the upcoming weeks and was introduced to them on Monday, now conforms with other municipalities that have similar bans on police officers shooting at a moving vehicles.


 Photo credit: Jon Candy, Creative Commons, Flickr