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DPD Chief White Says Shooting Details Still Under Investigation

DENVER (CBS4) - Denver's police chief held a news conference on Thursday to explain why he has ordered his department to review its policy that allows officers to fire into moving vehicles when they feel their life is being threatened.

Robert White also had more to say about the fatal shooting incident involving officers that took place in Denver's Park Hill neighborhood earlier this week.

WATCH NEWS CONFERENCE: See Robert White's Complete 20 Minute News Conference

Jessie Hernandez, 17, was killed Monday morning when police shot at the car she was in the driver's seat of in an alley near East 25th Avenue and Newport Street.

Jessie Hernandez
Jessie Hernandez (credit: CBS)

Police said the car Hernandez was in with four friends was stolen and that the car was moving towards one of the officers when they approached the car on foot.

White didn't go into much detail on Thursday about what has been learned about the shooting. Sorting out those details will be up to Denver's district attorney.

On Monday White said that as officers Gabriel Jordan and Daniel Greene approached the vehicle, the driver struck Jordan with the car in the leg, at which time he fired his gun and hit Hernandez.

Shooting scene jessie hernandez
The alley where Jessie Hernandez was shot and killed (credit: CBS)

On Thursday White said it's not currently clear whether Jordan hurt himself when he was getting out of the way of the car or was possibly injured when the vehicle hit him.

"The officer did receive a fractured leg. Whether it occurred as a result of his attempt to get out of the way of the moving vehicle or being struck by the moving vehicle, that's part of the investigation," White said.

Regarding DPD's policy, White said "As it related to shooting and vehicles, our officers are directed that we do not shoot into moving vehicles unless their life or someone else's life is in immediate danger. And I will tell you that even if they are in harm's way for that particular time, if there's any particular way that they can remove themselves from that dangerous situation they have a responsibility to do that."

Representatives from the American Civil Liberties Union were present at White's news conference, and they responded afterwards saying they welcome the review, and that in their opinion officers should only be allowed to fire at moving vehicles in the most extreme situations.

"The emerging trend in law enforcement is if a car is moving towards you, don't shoot, get out of the way," said ACLU spokesman Mark Silverstein.

Friends who were in the car with Hernandez told CBS4 they didn't know the car was stolen and that the officer wasn't hit until after Hernandez was shot and lost control.


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