INTERVIEW: Police Protocol on Chases in City Limits

Updated: 05/11/2013 10:34 AM By: Cassie Hart

An innocent motorcyclist was pulled into a tragedy involving the Minneapolis Police Department Friday. A squad car, racing to a report of officers down, collided with the motorcycle and killed the driver. A female passenger was also injured.

The incident raises questions about the safety of police chases inside city limits and what the protocol is for officers.

KSTP crews went along for a ride during a chase in April of 2012. At one point, the officer reached speeds of 70 mph.
We showed the video, back then, to Minneapolis Police Sergeant Rich Lee, who trains officers on how to react during a chase. He told us the Minneapolis Police Department policy is clear when it comes to a pursuit in the city.

"The danger to the public is the most important thing they have to consider when they are in a pursuit, they realize if it gets too dangerous they'll just terminate themselves, this isn't worth it," said Lee.

Sgt. Lee told us the most dangerous place during a pursuit is at an intersection, whether it's a stop sign or a four-way stop. He said they focused a lot of their training on clearing those intersections safely.

The death of the motorcyclist in the pursuit Friday raises several legal questions about the rights of that victim’s family, and what police can be liable for in cases like this.

Criminal Attorney Bruce Rivers stopped by the studio to give some analysis.