AP NEWS

Police on desk duty pending probe of deadly crash, fire

March 22, 2019

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — An unspecified number of New Orleans police officers have been placed on desk duty pending investigation into whether they violated the department’s restrictions on vehicle pursuits just before a deadly car crash and fire, the department said Friday.

A suspected stolen car crashed into a New Orleans salon and beauty supply store Wednesday night, sparking a major fire. Two people in the car died Wednesday. A woman rescued from the building died of her injuries Thursday. Five other people were hurt.

Police said Wednesday that the initial reports indicated the vehicle sped away after officers turned on their lights. Superintendent Shaun Ferguson said then that it appeared that officers turned off their lights and did not pursue the car, but added that the accident was under investigation.

Officers must get a supervisor’s approval before undertaking a vehicle pursuit. The policy was developed in accordance with a wide-ranging 2012 reform agreement with the U.S. Justice Department that governed policy and training on use of force, searches and seizures and numerous other issues.

The department agreed to require supervisor approval for pursuits, and only after officers involved and the supervisor “have considered multiple factors and determined that the immediate danger to the public created by the pursuit is less than the immediate or potential danger to the public should the suspect remain at large.”

The number of officers re-assigned to desk duty, and their identities, were not released.