I've seen many videos on youtube like this, but this was the most surprising one, where US police is chasing for 5,10,15 minutes to the criminal (who drives with either stolen car or his car) and police is just chasing those persons endlessly (until they stop by accident or for some reasons).

I just don't understand, why police don't immediately stop them (either blocking the car or crashing it), and instead, allows the criminals to drive for half-an-hour and destroy many things on roads and kill people (who knows how many them were in cars).
This doesn't relate to only that specific video or either tanks only, but there are plenty of videos like this, showing how police doesn't take any action in such occasions, until the robbers stop themselves...

I think the problem lies in thinking like that "how to stop a tank..". How to? ... Is that a question really? Police should stop! Get another tank, a big excavator, fire a missile to it on a empty road or do whatever... is that good that he killed people, crashed machines and destroyed half the city??

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    If I was a police officer, how would I stop a fleeing suspect (by blocking or crashing) without exposing myself and others to significant risk of injury or death. In general, my goal when driving is to NOT crash. – emory Apr 25 '19 at 15:49
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    @emory: I believe when T.Touda says "crash" they mean something like a pitting maneuver, which looks like crashing to someone who is not familiar with it (there is certainly contact). As a side note, I don't think "loyal" is the right word, because it implies that the police are on the criminal's side. "Lenient" might be a better fit. – sharur Apr 25 '19 at 15:51
  • How do you expect to stop a tank with a patrol car at all? It's literally built like a tank. All you can do with the tools police have is evacuate people from the area and wait for it to stop. – cpast Apr 25 '19 at 16:00
  • I would observe that this question is really a question about police tactics and not law, for the most part, although this may not be obvious to the person asking it. The reasons for handling car cashes as they are handled are predominantly questions of what police tactics work best and are only marginally questions of legal limitations on the authority of police to intervene with physical force. – ohwilleke Apr 26 '19 at 22:39

There are various practical considerations such as the fact that a spike strip is not effective against a tank. The main legal reason is that in the US, a seizure (arrest) must be reasonable under existing interpretations of the 4th Amendment. A person has a constitutional right to his life and property, and police force potentially infringes that right. For example, stopping a jaywalker with a shotgun blast would be unreasonable force, and could open the government up to a section 1983 lawsuit (referring to 42 USC 1983). So while the police are motivated to protect lives and property and to enforce the law, their use of force has to be reasonable.

There is no mechanical procedure for determining, in any arbitrary instance, where the line is between reasonable and unreasonable force. The courts have determined that it is whatever force a reasonable officer would use in the given circumstances. More force is justified if the reasonable officer believe that he or others are in imminent danger of serious bodily injury or death, and lack of such a reasonable belief could lead to a protracted low-speed car chase to arrest a suspect. There are guidelines that help police make these decisions, see this for example, and department will have specific rules about use of force.

There is a tradeoff between spending more time waiting for a suspect to stop, and using force to stop a vehicle. One way to stop a fleeing vehicle is with a spike strip, but that will destroy property and is likely to cause injury, so you need a policy. Here is a policy in Ohio, which begins by stating that

Due to the unique conditions within the community we serve the agency designee has determined that high speed pursuits are generally restricted to exigent circumstances, and when occurring are authorized and closely monitored by supervisors.

Spike strips can be used in some circumstances, but not all. That is, police have to follow the law in making an arrest.


It's estimated that as many as 300-400 people die per year due to police pursuit of suspect vehicles or less than 1 person out of every 100 million people in the united states... the per capita rate of all fatalities due to motor vehicles peaked at just shy of 30 per capita in 1937 and in the modern times it's been around 1/3rd of that, you do not need to be a mathematician to see that pursuits are rarely fatal... in fact, both the Tank pursuit incident and the similar "Kill Dozer" incident were non-lethal to bystanders because a tank is many scary things, but a silent killer is not one of them, and most motorists tend to be intelligent enough to get out of the way of an approaching tank (if you watch some of the tank footage, you can even see a few times where the tank swerves to hit a car in front of it, only for the car to quickly get out of the way and be much better at getting away from the tank. The "Kill Dozer" was worse as in addition to being a bulldozer, it was layered in re-enforced concrete, which made it even slower and harder to maneuver... which lead to it's stopping).

As for more conventional vehicles being chased, the police do take several factors into consideration... traffic conditions, the hostility of the car's occupants, the threat of the occupants to a possible hostage in the car or himself (notably what happened in the OJ Simpson Pursuit... Simpson was suicidal and the cops were trying to talk him out of suicide... to say nothing of the fact that his driver was a quasi-hostage) and the equipment available to them (is there a helicopter in the air?)

If the driver isn't shooting at the cops and traffic is light, it may be best to hold back and follow from a distance... especially if there is a chopper (doesn't need to be a helicopter, as local news choppers often are familiar with police pursuit tactics to a degree that they can assist as effectively as the police copter as they have the cameras and the height and can record and most stations are all too happy to help because police chase stories can quadruple a network's ratings during the entire pursuit (and back in the 90s most news stations had copters because that was the best way for traffic reports and many still do for other big stories such as major fires or accidents).

In these cases, the more dangerous manuvers are not as favorable as let the car run out of gas and follow behind as almost escorts alerting possible unsuspecting motorists to pull aside and keep from crashing. It's for safety of everyone involved, not because the cops really love Michael Bay films.

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    Something seems to be wrong with your arithmetic in the first sentence. 300-400 deaths per year in the US would be about 1 death per 1 million population, not per 100 million. Also, 30 deaths per capita would mean everybody died 30 times - did you mean deaths per 100,000 population or something like that? In either case, it would be helpful if you could give sources for your figures. – Nate Eldredge Apr 25 '19 at 20:10
  • Wikipedia. Per Capita = 100,000 (or some other standardized population size, but usually 100,000). I don't know what you're reading that suggests people die every 30 times (The statistic is all incidents of vehicular death, not just the police chases). – hszmv Apr 25 '19 at 21:01
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    The dictionary definition of per capita is "per person" ("capita" means "head"). I haven't heard of it being used for "per 100,000 people". 30 deaths per person would mean everyone died 30 times, which is obviously nonsense and why I assumed you meant something else, but it wasn't clear what. – Nate Eldredge Apr 25 '19 at 23:42
  • For your source, can you please be more specific than "Wikipedia"? E.g. a specific page? Better yet would be to give the source where Wikipedia got its data - primary sources are generally more useful than secondary sources, as people can better consider their reliability and methodology. – Nate Eldredge Apr 25 '19 at 23:44
  • I don't have the page. I just googled something like U.S. Auto fatalities or something to that matter. Per Capita is a literal translation of the Latin word, but when doing statistics, it means that for any standard population size X amount of people will be in this category. This eliminates the fact that nations have different population sizes from the data. Usually it's skewed to 100,000 though I have seen it used in the 1 million populations and the 100 populations and almost always as some multiple of 10.+ – hszmv Apr 26 '19 at 13:52

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