Code of the District of Columbia

§ 5–365.02(Perm). Law enforcement vehicular pursuit reform.

(a) A law enforcement officer shall not engage in a vehicular pursuit of a suspect motor vehicle unless the law enforcement officer actually and reasonably believes:

(1) The fleeing suspect:

(A) Has committed or attempted to commit a crime of violence; or

(B) Poses an immediate threat of death or serious bodily injury to another person;

(2) The vehicular pursuit is:

(A) Immediately necessary to protect another person, other than the fleeing suspect, from the threat of serious bodily injury or death; and

(B) Not likely to cause death or serious bodily injury to any person; and

(3) All other options have been exhausted or do not reasonably lend themselves to the circumstances.

(b) In any grand jury, criminal, delinquency, or civil proceeding where an officer's use of a vehicular pursuit is a material issue, the trier of fact shall consider:

(1) The reasonableness of the law enforcement officer's belief and actions from the perspective of a reasonable law enforcement officer; and

(2) The totality of the circumstances, which shall include:

(A) Whether the identity of the suspect was known;

(B) Whether the suspect could have been apprehended at a later time;

(C) The likelihood of a person, including the suspect motor vehicle's occupants, being endangered by the vehicular pursuit, including the type of area, the time of day, the amount of vehicular and pedestrian traffic, and the speed of the vehicular pursuit;

(D) The availability of other means to apprehend or track the fleeing suspect, such as helicopters;

(E) Whether circumstances arose during the vehicular pursuit that rendered the pursuit futile or would have required the vehicular pursuit to continue for an unreasonable time or distance, including:

(i) The distance between the pursuing law enforcement officers and the fleeing motor vehicle; and

(ii) Whether visual contact with the suspect motor vehicle was lost, or the suspect motor vehicle's location was no longer known;

(F) Whether the law enforcement officer's pursuit vehicle sustained damage or a mechanical failure that rendered it unsafe to operate;

(G) Whether the law enforcement officer was directed to terminate the pursuit by the pursuit supervisor or a higher-ranking supervisor;

(H) The law enforcement officer's training and experience;

(I) Whether anyone in the suspect motor vehicle:

(i) Appeared to possess, either on their person or in a location where it is readily available, a dangerous weapon; and

(ii) Was afforded an opportunity to comply with an order to surrender any suspected dangerous weapons;

(J) Whether the law enforcement officer, or another law enforcement officer in close proximity, engaged in reasonable de-escalation measures;

(K) Whether any conduct by the law enforcement officer prior to the vehicular pursuit unreasonably increased the risk of a confrontation resulting in a vehicular pursuit; and

(L) Whether the law enforcement officer made all reasonable efforts to prevent harm, including abandoning efforts to apprehend the suspect.

(c)(1) The following practices or tactics employed by a law enforcement officer shall constitute a serious use of force:

(A) Boxing in;

(B) Caravanning;

(C) Deploying a roadblock;

(D) Deploying a tire deflation device; and

(E) Paralleling.

(2) Ramming shall constitute a use of deadly force.