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Video: Houston PD Bans Shooting at People in Vehicles

October 01, 2015  | 

VIDEO: Houston PD Bans Shooting at People in Vehicles

Houston police officers are now not allowed to fire their weapons when faced with a suspect who is trying to run them over, according to a memo obtained by ABC-13 Tuesday.

The former policy allowed officers to use deadly force when their lives were threatened by a suspect in a vehicle. Under state law a vehicle can be considered a deadly weapon.

In the memo dated September 25th, 2015, Houston Police Chief Charles McClellan wrote, "Effective immediately, officers shall not discharge a firearm or soft-impact weapon at a moving vehicle unless a person in the vehicle is immediately threatening the officer or other person with serious bodily injury or death by mean other than the vehicle itself."

"Now what they've done is they've given one more tool for the suspects to kill police officers," said former HPD officer turned attorney Tom Nixon. "Once criminals figure out that they can use their vehicle as a weapon and the police can't shoot them, they will have a greater incentive today and use their vehicle as their weapon to escape."

The last time an officer was killed by a suspect in a vehicle was in May of this year. Officer Richard Martin was run over and killed while he was setting up spikes during a police chase. The suspect hit and killed him before Officer Martin could pull out his weapon.

Comments (9)

Displaying 1 - 9 of 9

kevCopAz @ 10/1/2015 2:23 PM

I thought of 2 remarks, 1) well, if I have to shoot the driver of a vehicle trying to kill me with that vehicle, I will and f u Chief, fire me. We will see if after I sue you for not allowing me to protect myself according to STATE LAW who will win. 2) If I don't shoot, and I am in cured knowing that I could have stopped the event with gunfire I hope that the City and the Chief personally will reach very deep in their pocket to compensate me or my family if I die. oh one more sorry, Chief someone should run YOUR rear end over, since it would be safe to do so because you wouldn't dare violate policy, you non-cop criminal arming fool.

LEO @ 10/1/2015 2:32 PM

All I can say Chief is you are way out of line here. You have just effectively handcuffed your officers from doing their job. I would resign from your department just as soon as I was able to get another job. Your telling me that when a driver is trying to kill someone (anyone) by driving over them, I can not stop them with deadly force. What a boner. I suggest you get some input from a competent person, as you are not playing with a full deck.

Kojack58 @ 10/1/2015 5:11 PM

Chief McClellan you need to resign. Your officers just got a kick in the teeth. So if an officer is trying to be run down by a suspect you don't fire. BS or the suspect just killed someone with a handgun and is not giving up you let him go. Where is your head.

Hash @ 10/1/2015 5:35 PM

This Chief sounds like a political hack and clearly does not care about his personnel.

Ali Akbar @ 10/1/2015 8:04 PM

If this story is factual then this idiot C of P needs to resign his position immediately. He's guilty of endangering his officers. Someone needs to do a welfare check on this guy ASAP.

S.S. @ 10/2/2015 8:42 AM

chief you're a joke, and unworthy of that title. you just hamstrung your officers. G.T.F.O.!!!

OK @ 10/3/2015 7:16 AM

Sounds like the policies of NYC are spreading like cancer, rotting the thinking processes of departments nationwide.

Cush @ 10/5/2015 12:04 PM

Been a Chief of Police for 18 of my 38 years and all I can say is WOW! Talk about hanging your troops out to dry. So sad

Randy @ 10/31/2015 10:09 AM

Hmm, have any of you been in a situation of a suspect trying to run you down with a vehicle? If the suspect vehicle is so close to you then shooting him/her probably won't change the direction or stop the vehicle in time to avoid you anyway. If the suspect vehicle is far enough away that your shot could change the direction or stop the vehicle then is far enough away for you to remove yourself from the situation.

I don't like the policy either, but in reality it really has little to no effect. And we shouldn't be shooting at a vehicle that has missed you and is driving away...

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