MPD chief chases and arrests teen suspect, says policy change led to busts

O’hara talks policy change in pursuits

O'hara talks policy change in pursuits

Being in the right place at the right time landed Minneapolis police chief Brian O’Hara in the midst of fellow officers in a foot chase leading to multiple arrests – busts the chief said wouldn’t have happened if he didn’t implement policy change at the beginning of the month.

Chief O’Hara eventually chased down one of the suspects and placed the teen in custody in south Minneapolis. Police said on Monday, four teens in a stolen Kia SUV fired a dozen rounds in north Minneapolis – at least one bullet shattered a Minneapolis Public Schools building window.

RELATED: Juveniles arrested after shooting at MPS headquarters, leading police on chase in stolen Kia

Body camera footage obtained by 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS shows Chief O’Hara leading the way through an alley and eventually chasing down a suspect and placing them under arrest.

“If I hear an officer call for help, and I’m in the area, I’m coming just like any other police officer should,” Chief O’Hara said.

The chief said two guns were confiscated, and three of four teens were arrested on weapon charges – the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office says so far, a 14 and 15-year-old have been charged.

As mentioned, if it weren’t for a change in the police department’s pursuit policy, officers would not have been able to chase the teens.

“The way the policy was previously written, a cop could see someone point a gun out of a car or shoot a gun off into the air, and it did not allow for police to pursue,” Chief O’Hara said. Adding that’s because before, there needed to be a victim.

Now, under the new policy, if someone fires a weapon illegally or points it at someone, police can chase them.

“When we know a crime of violence is involved, or an illegal gun is involved, an illegal gun was pointed at someone, or was discharged, I think that’s absolutely something that the police should have the authority [to pursue],” Chief O’Hara said. “And, I think the community expects that we would chase someone for that.” O’Hara said the main reason for the change was to address gun crimes. He says because vehicle pursuits are one of the most dangerous parts of the job, he’s working on strengthening policy language to make sure officers do them as safe as possible.