Pittsburgh Police Chief Issues New Guidelines For Initiating ChasesBy Heather Abraham

SHADYSIDE (KDKA)- New surveillance video shows just how violent Sunday night’s police chase crash was in Shadyside.

Police were pursuing a man when the suspect’s car slammed into another car along Baum Boulevard.

Mini of Pittsburgh has a dealership on Baum Boulevard. They captured the violent crash on surveillance video, and you can watch the entire video online.

Police say officers tried to pull over the white Chevrolet car at the intersection of North Negley Avenue and Black Street in East Liberty.

“When they attempted to stop the vehicle, the vehicle took off at a high rate of speed before officers could even activate their lights,” Pittsburgh Public Safety Spokeswoman Emily Schaffer said.

The chase lasted about five minutes. After the crash, police started digging around the white Chevy.

“They did recover a ballistic vest, two ski masks, and a police scanner from his vehicle,” Schaffer said.

Three people were inside the white Chevy. The 23-year-old driver was transported to UPMC Mercy Hospital in stable condition.

A 16-year-old girl was taken to Children’s Hospital with leg and neck injuries.

And the 12-year-old girl in the back seat was taken to UPMC Mercy Hospital in critical condition.

The couple in the other car were on their way to visit their daughter in Bloomfield. They were both taken to UPMC Presbyterian Hospital with minor injuries.

On Monday, following the incident, Pittsburgh Police Chief Cameron McLay issued an internal memo to police officers about chasing suspects.

“It says, in part, “Effective immediately, a member of the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police may only initiate a motor vehicle pursuit where she/he has reasonable belief the individual(s) in the offending vehicle is involved in a violent, felony crime. Members shall not engage in a motor vehicle pursuit for traffic violations only.”

The chief is not expected to elaborate on the new policy on Tuesday.

He did go in the memo to say, “Regrettably, too many instances occur where our police pursuits create greater danger to the public than the violations we are seeking to address through enforcement. As a result, I am directing a full review of this policy, as well as our systems of accountability for compliance with this important policy.”

Attorney Phil DiLucente has defended clients who were arrested after a police chase.

“What does that exactly mean, a violent felony,” says DiLucente. “A lot of officers will argue, I need to investigate before I can determine if there’s a felony. So I can see how this is going to be very conflicting until there’s a final policy in place.”

DiLucente thinks the memo will compromise law enforcement’s ability.

The memo for police officers was leaked to the public. Howard McQuillan, president of the Fraternal Order of Police, said in a statement that he’s worried about the public knowing about the policy.

The statement says: “The concern is that knowledge of the policy could cause more people to flee police and put the public at risk as well.”

The bottom line is public safety. Some jurisdictions across the country have already limited or even done away with police pursuits.

DiLucente believes only time will tell what permanent changes will be made in the police bureau pursuit policy.

“I think the balancing test will be struck that in certain situations there will have to be a high-speed chase and there’s no alternative,” he said. “In others, whether it’s a low grade misdemeanor, they’re going to have to say, ‘Ladies and gentlemen of the law enforcement world, back off.’”

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