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Federal Cops Who Shot Miriam Carey Violated DC Police Rules
District policy prohibits officers from shooting “at or from” a moving vehicle. By Harry Jaffe
Comments () | Published October 10, 2013

DC Police Chief Cathy Lanier has said the federal law enforcement officers who shot and killed Miriam Carey last Thursday “acted heroically,” but if they were her police officers, they would face disciplinary action and perhaps termination for shooting at a moving vehicle.

DC Police general orders prohibit officers from shooting “at or from” a moving vehicle, even if that vehicle is coming at them with intent to do harm.

Lanier’s comments and actions are crucial in the aftermath of the fatal shooting, because use of force by US Capitol Police and Secret Service agents falls under the purview of the MPD’s Internal Affairs Division.

Police shot Carey, 34, in her car after she tried to ram her vehicle into a White House barrier and led police on a car chase to Capital Hill. According to court documents and police, officers fired at her as she backed out of Garfield Circle, near the US Botanic Garden. She sped off again and stopped a few blocks away at a guard shack on the 100 block of Maryland Avenue, Northeast. Police fired again at the car as she backed up.

The police gunshots killed Carey, a dental hygienist from Connecticut. She was unarmed. Her toddler was in the backseat and came away unharmed.

DC’s Internal Affairs Division is investigating the case, in which federal police officers fired 17 shots. Neither the Secret Service nor the Capitol Police have made public their rules and regulations on the use of deadly force, but the MPD’s guidelines are clear.

General order 901.07 states, “No member of the Metropolitan Police Department shall discharge his/her firearm at or from a moving vehicle unless deadly force is being used against the officer or another person. For purposes of this order, a moving vehicle is not considered deadly force.”

The order was established in 2002 and revised in 2005.

Carey injured two law enforcement officers as she tried to ram barricades and avoid police, but under DC rules, she was not using deadly force. Therefore, local DC police would have been acting against orders if they had shot at the car.

At a news conference after the shooting, Lanier praised federal police officers, saying, “They did exactly what they were supposed to do, and they stopped a suspect from breaching security perimeters in a vehicle at both locations.”

Lanier’s police department came to the opposite conclusion in a 2005 shooting incident. Three officers—Abe Lazarus, Scott Craiger, and Charlie Hoetzel—were investigating reports of a drug deal that December. When they confronted the driver of the car in question, he tried to run over Craiger, who fired as he fell. His two partners fired at the vehicle as it sped off. The MPD moved to terminate the three officers, all with stellar records. They successfully fought the terminations but faced suspensions for their actions.

Their story was the subject of “Don’t Shoot,” a feature in Washingtonian’s January 2007 issue.

MPD spokesperson Gwendolyn Crump confirmed that the general order barring DC police from firing at moving vehicles is still in effect. Many police departments have similar prohibitions.

Miriam Carey’s family members have questioned the use of force. “Deadly force was not necessary,” her sister, Valarie Carey, told reporters. “They could have rammed the car or disabled it.”

The Capitol Police and Secret Service are also investigating whether their officers followed use-of-force rules. Ultimately, the US Attorney’s Office would decide whether the officers broke any laws.

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  • emfrantz

    Clearly, the Metropolitan Police acted in direct violation of their guidelines regarding firing on a moving vehicle. Metropolitan Police protocol specifically states that police may not open fire on a moving vehicle, "unless deadly force is being used against the officer or another person." It has been definitively determined that Carey was unarmed (as her car was not to be considered a "weapon" intended to inflict deadly force). I feel that it is also pertinent to consider that, not only was Carey unarmed, but she was fleeing the scene. I feel that this could be used to definitively say that Carey meant the presiding law enforcement officials no harm.

  • Aspasia

    This family ought to contact Forensic pathologist Cyril Wecht to do a family ordered autopsy. I think this report would be very insightful in showing the complete disregard of, and overkill of this unarmed mother. A witness is now saying that Mariam Careys child was removed from the car and THEN THE COPS MURDERED HER! Thats why the child emerged unharmed. This was an act of murder and anyone who thinks differently needs to pull the scales from their eyes.

  • Brian Grierson

    Spin it however you wish. Here is how it plays out. Carey rammed a barricade leading to the WH. She refused lawful orders. She then used her car as a lethal weapon when she tried to run down Uniformed officers and elude them. She sped away, jumping a curb and almost rammed another barricade, again refusing orders from Uniformed officers, she then backed up, almost struck another officer and slammed into a police cruiser. She then sped away and was later shot.

    You can quote rules all you like. Fact is the woman acted in an irrational manner and in her actions was a clear and present danger to themselves and to the president. The fact that she used her chosen weapon to almost run over at least 3 officers justifies them in any use of deadly force. The cops did not know if she was armed in the vehicle or carried a bomb or worse so they took appropriate actions to save lives.

  • Reallyfe

    Wow, You are so misinformed , I am not even going to waste my time responding in detail. Its like you got your information from the national enquirer. Just keep drinking the cool aid, just pray you don't become a victim.

  • Brian Grierson

    Not really... everything I have stated is fact and you can TRY and spin that however you like. Everything there is fact, not fiction.. perhaps you need to stop drinking the Kool Aid Reallyfe. Miriam demise was of her own making, not some execution or conspiracy or hate based murder.

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