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Pittsburgh officer accused of excessive force during stop

Investigations are underway in a case regarding a Pittsburgh police officer who believed he had to use excessive force with a suspect during a routine traffic stop.

Police claim an officer pulled over a 19-year-old male driver at about 10 p.m. on Nov. 11. When the officer opened the passenger side door, the teen sped away, dragging the officer with him. Though the officer was able to climb into the car, the driver did not stop.

A police deputy said the officer responded by wrestling with the driver and shooting him three times because he believed his life was at risk. The car ended up driving into a retaining wall and the officer was taken to the hospital with minor injuries. He is currently on medical leave.

Charges have not been issued for the officer, but the deputy chief would not describe how police are trained to act during traffic stops. Investigations are being completed by the department and the county district attorney's office.

Some critics are skeptical of the situation and wonder if the officer had to take such action to stop the driver. Some are claiming the officer put himself in the situation to escalate the scene. Both a criminology professor and a police sergeant from a university said they believe it would have been best if the officer would have let the man drive away without trying to control the situation from inside the car. Officers should not try and stop the vehicle if it flees, the sergeant added.

Source: Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, "Shooting of fleeing driver by officer in Highland Park investigated," Margaret Harding, Nov. 12, 2012

ยท Our law firm represents people who are facing criminal charges in the Pittsburgh area. To learn more about our firm, please visit our Pittsburgh criminal defense page.

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