Video: Stolen car speeds away from police on sidewalk outside KIRO Radio studios

Jan 5, 2022, 12:26 PM

Seattle police...

Seattle police attempting to apprehend the driver of a stolen vehicle outside the KIRO Radio studio. (KIRO Radio)

(KIRO Radio)

The KIRO Radio news team captured video on Wednesday from directly outside its Eastlake studio in Seattle, showing police with guns drawn on a vehicle, before the car sped away on the sidewalk.

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According to Seattle Police Department Sergeant Randy Huserik, the incident stemmed from a call placed by a passerby, who initially told dispatchers there was a vehicle parked on the sidewalk with its engine running.

Officers responded to the scene, and after making contact with the occupant of the car, discovered from the license plate that the vehicle had been reported stolen. Additional units were then summoned, “to assist in attempting to the take the driver who was in possession of a stolen vehicle into custody.”

Video footage taken by KIRO Radio shows that a group of officers proceeded to surround the vehicle with their guns drawn before it fled, driving away on the sidewalk.

As for why police didn’t follow the driver, Huserik notes that SPD’s official policy dictates that officers in that particular situation were not permitted to stage a pursuit.

“Public safety being paramount, we have to factor in time of day, weather conditions, the activity of both vehicular and pedestrian traffic in the area,” he told KIRO Radio’s Gee & Ursula Show. “Then, of course, we have our pursuit policy in the SPD manual — that dictates when and when we cannot pursue a vehicle, and in this in this circumstance, our pursuit policy did not allow officers to go after that vehicle.”

Law enforcement in several areas across Washington have voiced complaints regarding a statewide policy that went into effect last year, which limits the situations in which officers can stage vehicular pursuits. According to Huserik, this instance would have played out the same regardless of that new law.

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“This would not have impacted our department in that manner,” he noted. “This wouldn’t have changed had this been today or had this been two years ago on this date, because our pursuit policy has been very restrictive for some time. Even without the state laws that did go into effect last year, this would not have impacted how Seattle police would have responded to this incident.”

SPD further clarified its policy on Twitter, describing how the department “will always err on the side of safety for everyone in our community” when it comes to pursuits.

Police are asking that anyone in the area who either witnessed the incident firsthand, or who has additional video footage speak to SPD.

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Video: Stolen car speeds away from police on sidewalk outside KIRO Radio studios