New Chicago police department policy bars officers from chasing a person simply for fleeing

A pair of deadly, high-profile police shootings in Chicago, including one incident involving a 13-year-old boy, has prompted a major policy change regarding how and when officers will be allowed to pursue suspects fleeing on foot.

According to the new guidelines, unveiled on Tuesday, officers may give chase if they believe a person is committing or about to commit a felony, a Class A misdemeanor like domestic battery, or a serious traffic offense such as drunk driving that could pose a risk to others. They also block police from pursuing people on foot simply because they run away or give chase over minor offenses, the department said Tuesday.


The rule changes will also require increased accountability and data on foot chases.

“The safety of our community members and our officers remain at the core of this new foot pursuit policy,” Superintendent David Brown said in a statement. “We collaborated internally with our officers and externally with our residents to develop a policy we all have a stake in.”


The new policy closely resembles one temporarily implemented after a foot chase through a Portage Park on March 31 of last year, which culminated in the death of 21-year-old Anthony Alvarez. Officers were chasing him due to a traffic violation, which is prohibited under the new policy given that it is a minor infraction.

Just two days earlier, Chicago police officers also fatally shot 13-year-old Adam Toledo at the end of a foot chase through Little Village alley on March 29.

Both Alvarez and the teen were armed at the time and no officers faced charges in either case.

During a news conference Tuesday, Brown said police officials had been mulling an updated foot pursuit policy “for several years before those shootings happened.”

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said the new guidelines are set to go into effect by the end of the summer.

With News Wire Services