‘We’ve long known police officers shoot and kill on average about 1,000 citizens in the U.S. every year for a variety of reasons, none of which seem take place in other parts of the world. But we were shocked to learn just how many motorists and innocent bystanders are killed by cops every year when officers give chase to suspects. The numbers are quite staggering.
According to a recently published research study by the Fine Law Firm and 1Point21 Interactive, over 2,000 citizens over a four-year period were killed by cops as police were chasing suspect vehicles. Surprisingly, more than half of those killed were not the suspects!
An analysis by the Fine Law Firm and 1Point21 Interactive found that there were 1,699 fatal crashes involving police chases from 2014-2018, killing at least 2,005 people – 1,123 were not the driver of the fleeing vehicle.
That number might be much higher because, just as with officer-involved shootings, those killed-by-cop statistics are not required to be reported to any federal government database anywhere. Currently, officer-involved shooting deaths are only voluntarily reported to the FBI.
This issue has been pretty close to my heart for several years. One of my best friends lost his father in a collision with a vehicle fleeing the police. He was simply driving through an intersection and was t-boned by the fleeing driver. While I can’t say whether or not the chase was justified, being in the position to examine the data and be involved in the study was cathartic in a way. Hopefully, people see the results and it helps make sure that every department has and follows appropriate policies and training on how and when to chase suspects. I also hope it makes people who are stopped for non-violent and traffic offenses think twice about running. It puts innocent people’s lives in jeopardy.
We also spoke to David Fine, attorney at Fine Law Firm via email who points out that the chases are almost never worth it.’