DENVER (CBS4)– The Denver police officers who shot and killed a teen who was driving toward them in a stolen car nearly two years ago acted “appropriately” according to a review involving multiple agencies.
An investigation by the Denver Police Department and other agencies determined the officers used appropriate force when they shot and killed Jessica Hernandez, 17, on Jan. 26, 2015.
The family continues to grieve the loss of Hernandez.
“The family’s definitely still in a lot of grief,” said Hernandez family attorney Arash Jahanian. “They carry it with them everyday but news like this always comes hard.”
The review also stated the officers complied with policies in place at the time. Since then, the Denver Police Department has revised its use of force policy and is currently accepting feedback from the community.
The policy changes come after demand from Denver residents to change traditional policing techniques.
The police department has scheduled three meetings for public input. The first is Tuesday evening.
The Denver District Attorney’s Office declined to prosecute the officers, stating their lives where threatened when Hernandez drove toward them in a stolen car. The officers fired eight shots into the car and struck Hernandez three times. Four other teens inside the vehicle were not injured.
The vehicle did not hit either officer, but Mitch Morrissey, who was district attorney at the time, said it was dangerously close.
Shortly after Hernandez’s death, the police department barred officers from shooting at moving vehicles unless someone inside is firing at them.
That shooting was the fourth time in seven months that Denver police fired into a moving vehicle.
There were community-wide demonstrations following the shooting.
Jhanian said changing the police department’s policy will continue to help the Hernandez family move forward, “We’ve already seen that one positive change come out of this incredible tragedy but the family will keep fighting so that no other family has to experience what they’ve gone through.”