WASHINGTON – Federal officers violated their own rules on vehicle pursuits and the use of deadly force when they chased, shot and killed unarmed suburban mother Miriam Carey, according to an analysis of documents obtained by WND.
The documents include the secretive policy on vehicular pursuits in the U.S. Secret Service Uniformed Division Operational Procedures manual and the guidelines on the use of deadly force in the Homeland Security Legal Division Handbook.
Carey family attorney Eric Sanders told WND, “These documents are the smoking gun that prove federal officers wrongly killed Miriam Carey.”
“The discovery of these secret policies also proves the Department of Justice intentionally erred in declining to file criminal charges against the officers who pursued and killed Miriam Carey.”
Sanders called it a cover-up by the Justice Department, saying, “They knew exactly what they were doing” by not pressing charges, even though officers “clearly violated their own policies.”
Carey was the single mother from Stamford, Connecticut, who drove to Washington, D.C., with her infant daughter strapped into the back seat on Oct. 3, 2013.
She drove up to a White House guard gate, apparently by mistake because she immediately tried to make a U-turn to leave, but was chased by uniformed Secret Service officers and U.S. Capitol Police officers and shot dead about two blocks from the Capitol.
WND obtained policy rules in the Secret Service manual the government has refused to release to the public. They can be read here.
The portions relevant to the Carey case were provided by a former Secret Service officer who was on duty at the time of the chase and the deadly shooting.
That former officer is now a potential client of Sanders.
No felony and no crime
The U.S. Secret Service Operational Procedures guidelines on “Vehicular Pursuits” states under the heading “General Policy”:
A member shall not become engaged in a vehicular pursuit except to effect the arrest or prevent the escape, when every other means of effecting the arrest or preventing the escape has been exhausted, of a person who has committed a felony or attempted to commit a felony in the member’s presence, or when a felony has been committed and the member has reasonable grounds to believe the person he/she is attempting to apprehend has committed the felony; provided that the felony for which the arrest is sought involved an actual or threatened attack which the member has reasonable cause to believe could result in death or serious bodily injury.
The key instruction is that uniformed Secret Service members “shall not become engaged in a vehicular pursuit except to effect the arrest or prevent the escape” of a “person who has committed a felony or attempted to commit a felony.”
Not only did Miriam Carey not commit a felony, officials never even accused her of committing a crime.
Using a Freedom of Information Act, or FOIA, request, WND obtained the official report on the Carey case by the Washington, D.C., Metropolitan Police Department, and recently published a five-part series on the information on that report.
Nothing in the police report cited any laws Carey broke at the White House.
The application for the search warrant for Carey’s car and apartment, contained in that report, never accused her of violating any laws at all.
An affidavit filed by the Washington, D.C., Metropolitan Police Department in support of the search warrant merely accused Carey of violating “several traffic regulations.”
Furthermore, nothing in the July 10, 2014, Justice Department statement exonerating officers said she committed any crimes to instigate the chase.
WND has extensively documented proof, also contained the police report, that, contrary to numerous published reports in establishment media, Carey never rammed a security barrier at the White House.
Witness accounts in the police report, including one from a Secret Service officer, also confirmed Carey wasn’t trying to enter the White House grounds, because as soon as she entered the guard post she immediately made a U-turn and tried to leave.
Secret Service officers did not try to stop her from entering but did try to prevent her from leaving that White House guard post by dragging a gate in front of her car, which she drove around.
“There is nothing in the vehicle-pursuit policy that authorized the officers to pursue Miriam and her minor child,” Sanders told WND.
Also under the heading “General Policy” in the U.S. Secret Service Operational Procedures guidelines on “Vehicular Pursuits,” it states:
Whenever it becomes evident that injury to citizens or members of the Force, or unnecessary property damage may result from a vehicular ursuit, that pursuit shall be immediately discontinued. Safety is the first priority, not arrest.
However, safety did not appear to be the priority of the federal officers who instigated their pursuit of Carey.
“The officers and other employees assigned to the United States Secret Service Uniform Division clearly violated their own policies, especially the vehicle-pursuit policy, which clearly restricts its employees ability to engage in high-risk vehicle pursuits favoring safety over apprehension,” observed Sanders.
Under “Pursuit Procedures,” the manual states:
Members shall immediately discontinue the pursuit and notify the Control Center whenever conditions exist (e.g., weather conditions, roadway or pavement conditions, rush hour considerations, vehicular or pedestrian traffic congestion, speed of the pursuit, handling of the police vehicle) or become such that further vehicular pursuit would lead a reasonable person to believe that unnecessary property damage, or injury to citizens or members of the Force may result.
Police have never explained why it was so important to stop Carey that they took measures that clearly violated the policy above.
The chase was so intense that a police cruiser accidentally slammed into a security barrier on Constitution Avenue with such force that witnesses thought they’d heard an explosion. The collision caused an injury to an officer requiring an airlift to the hospital. The officer recovered, but the chase was not immediately halted, even after that near tragedy.
Also under “Pursuit Procedures,” the manual states:
The pursuing vehicles shall be operated in accordance with the provisions set forth in this policy under “Operation of Emergency Vehicles,” in particular that no pursuing vehicle shall be operated at a speed greater than ten miles per hour in excess of the posted or established speed limit.
The Justice Department claimed the police chase occurred as Carey traveled speeds it estimated at 40-80 mph in 25 mph speed-limit zones. If true, why did officers not suspend the pursuit, as the regulation above requires?
Noted Sanders, “The officers and other employees assigned to the United States Secret Service Uniform Division clearly violated their own policies which are even more restrictive than the Metropolitan Police Department.”
Under “Initiation of Pursuits,” another guideline states:
Vehicular pursuits, as authorized above, may be initiated by members operating authorized department vehicles after they have attempted, by using appropriate warning devices from a close proximity, to stop a violator who is already in a vehicle if the violator has (1) indicated by his/her actions that he/she is aware of the stop attempt, and (2) disregarded the stop attempt and attempted to flee in the vehicle.
Carey did not attempt to flee, according to the police report.
In fact, according to a witness visiting from Australia quoted in the report, the first thing Carey did upon leaving the White House guard post was stop at a red light.
The witness also said Carey departed the White House “at an average speed.”
‘No perfect answer’
The Department of Homeland Security, or DHS, governs the U.S. Secret Service.
The department set the Secret Service’s guideline on when it is permissible for officers to use force.
The section of the DHS Legal Division Handbook on that issue is titled, “There is No ‘Perfect Answer’ when Using Force.”
Under the heading, “Factors to Consider in Determining Whether Excessive Force was Used,” the very first criterion listed is “Severity of the Crime.”
But, as has already been established, officials have never claimed, nor shown, Carey committed any crime warranting a chase.
There is also no evidence Carey committed any crime justifying the use of deadly force against her.
“There is nothing in the vaguely written ‘Use of Force’ policy that authorized police personnel to discharge their service weapons toward Miriam and her minor child, resulting in Miriam’s death,” Sanders told WND.
“Certainly,” he added, “since the officers had no authority to pursue them, they cannot establish authority to use deadly physical force against Miriam or her minor child.”
Officials have never even attempted to explain what crime Carey may have committed that would justify officers shooting and killing her.
Yet the Department of Justice found no reason to bring criminal charges against any officers.
Under the heading “Use of Deadly Force – Objective Reasonableness,” the handbook states:
Where the officer has probable cause to believe that the suspect poses a threat of serious physical harm, either to the officer or to others, it is not constitutionally unreasonable to prevent escape by using deadly force.
There is no evidence Carey ever threatened anyone at the White House.
She never hit an officer or anyone else with her car during the chase.
Carey also never struck an officer with her car, contrary to what the media erroneously reported.
According to a witness quoted in the police report, when an off-duty Secret Service officer dragged a portable gate in front of Carey’s car as she tried to leave the White House guard post, she tried to drive around it, but he pulled it back it front of her.
The witness said: “A male was pulling a gate in front of the vehicle to keep the vehicle in the area. The vehicle attempted to flee the area but the man pulled the gate back in front of the vehicle. The vehicle then hit the gate knocking this man to the ground.”
Even the police description of Carey’s encounter with the off-duty officer confirms Carey did not hit the officer; she hit the gate, which “spun around” and hit him.
Under the document titled Metropolitan Police Department Incident Summary Sheet, the synopsis read: “The United States Secret Service police officer attempted to block the vehicle with a bicycle rack; however, the vehicle pushed over the bicycle rack, which spun around knocking the officer over.”
The Justice Department claimed Carey drove in reverse toward an officer at the end of the chase at Maryland Avenue and Second Street before police stopped and killed her with a volley of gunshots, but an eyewitness in the police report contradicted that claim.
That witness, a woman who apparently was working at the nearby Supreme Court, told police, as Carey’s “vehicle was backing up and before it struck the police booth, there were no police officers near the vehicle.”
Before publishing the secret polices, WND ensured doing so would not harm the ability of the U.S. Secret Service Uniform Division officers to do their jobs.
Legal counsel advised WND the documents need not be kept out of the press, because:
- Neither is marked “classified,” “confidential” or “sensitive.” If they were considered such by the respective agencies, every page would have been appropriately marked.
- The USSS manual is basic: There are no sensitive procedures set forth within. The procedures are basic to any law-enforcement agency and do not implicate confidential procedures which, if released, might have the capacity to adversely affect plans to protect the president, or anyone or anything else.
- The DHS manual is a basic description of the law as it stands at the federal level. It, too, has no sensitive procedures that if released have the capacity to adversely affect DHS’ mission.
More to come?
“We are in the process of obtaining the United States Capitol Police policies on Vehicle Pursuit and Use of Force,” said Sanders.
“We are equally confident the officers and other employees assigned to the United States Capitol Police clearly violated their policies, and the civil rights of Miriam Carey and her child, too.”
Sanders also said he was in the process of obtaining further witnesses.
“This re-confirms my theory from the outset,” said Sanders. “After reading the Department of Homeland Security and United States Secret Service Vehicle Pursuit and Use of Force policies, it’s quite evident the Department of Justice is covering up the crimes committed against Miriam Carey, an unarmed woman who was not wanted for a felony, or any other crime, for that matter.”
The attorney called upon newly appointed Attorney General Loretta Lynch to give the case its highest priority, with a top-to-bottom review and full public disclosure.
“Additionally, we are demanding the United States Congress commence its own parallel investigation into the Department of Justice’s handling of the Miriam Carey shooting,” he said.
“The Department of Homeland Security and United States Secret Service policies are just empty words,” summed up Sanders.
“As established during the Secret Service Oversight Hearings on September 30, 2014, the United States Secret Service is woefully untrained despite a budget well over $800 million,” he said. “In 2012, Secret Service Agents received no basic training course. In 2013, they received one training course. With respect to the Uniform Division, they received only one training course in 2012 and 2013.”
The attorney said the management, officers and other employees of the departments “are simply deliberately indifferent toward upholding the United States Constitution.
“This deliberate indifference resulted in violations of Miriam and her minor child’s civil rights.”
One thing is indisputable. The events of Oct. 3, 2013, did result in the death of Miriam Carey. And a child’s loss of her mother.
Sanders plans to file a $350 million lawsuit on behalf of the Carey family.
Follow Garth Kant @DCgarth