Are Cleveland police handcuffed by the department's own pursuit policy?

DOWNTOWN CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - It is a maneuver that many police departments train for and use to stop fleeing suspects in vehicles: the PIT move.

It stands for Precision Intervention Technique, a move often used at high speeds, where a fleeing motorist is putting other drivers in danger. The move is exactly what officers used in Erie to stop Steve Stephens' car.

Officers in Cleveland are forbidden from using the tactic.

In 2000 in Cleveland, an officer stopped a chase using a PIT maneuver and dragged a suspect from a car that sped away from an armed robbery.

The Safety Director handed the officer a 70-day suspension. Some of the discipline due to the PIT tactic, some of it due to him roughing up the suspect. This order cleared four other officers involved.

In 2015, a 2002 Cleveland General Police Order was updated after the infamous chase that ended with with dozens of cruisers chasing a car, and in the end officers firing 137 shots. Current policy says that along with no PIT maneuvers, no more than two cars can chase a suspect, but only if it is believed the suspects have committed a violent crime -- and it must be a fresh felony.

Police officials say chasing a two-day-old homicide suspect, as in the Erie case, might never have been allowed in Cleveland. Most importantly, it says: "The act of fleeing in and of itself is not sufficient cause to engage or continue to engage the fleeing vehicle in a pursuit."

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