Remember last year when we told you about the Texas State Trooper who shot at a truck full of illegal immigrants from a helicopter, killing two people inside? Yeah, they're not allowed to do that anymore.
That incident happened when the Ford F-150 was running from police just north of the Mexican border. Authorities believed it may have been carrying drugs but it actually contained 10 people who had been smuggled into the country. Rather than disable the vehicle, the trooper's shots killed two Guatemalan nationals inside.
Now Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw has announced that troopers won't be allowed to shoot at vehicles or fleeing suspects from helicopters. At least, not if they aren't being shot at themselves, according to the San Antonio Express-News.
The newspaper reported that DPS' policy change was applauded by both the ACLU of Texas and the district attorney in the county where this shooting occurred. The agency caught quite a bit of flak from the public when this shooting occurred.
“We are relieved that Texas is ending this extreme practice, which no other Southwestern border states have ever allowed,” Terri Burke, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas, said in a statement. “We hope that this decision is a step, if only a small one, toward ending the culture of violence that pervades enforcement of border security in Texas.”
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It's a good change. Many, if not most, police departments already discourage officers from shooting at or from moving vehicles. It's rarely effective, as shooting out a car's tires tends to be something that only works in movies and TV.
So next time you're doing illegal stuff in a truck in Texas, being shot at by a Texas State Trooper in a helicopter is one less thing you'll have to worry about.
Photo credit AP
Hat tip to Mary!