PGDP says officer violated chase policy by pursuing dirt bike drivers

Prince George's County Police said Monday night that an officer appears to have broken departmental policy in pursuit of dirt bike and ATV riders in Southeast D.C.

Prince George's officers followed a group of illegal dirt bike and ATV riders on Saturday evening, according to a statement. Witnesses told FOX 5 it happened along Southern Avenue and Wheeler Road SE.

Department policy only allows vehicular pursuits in the most serious cases, where suspects are believed to have committed violent crimes. In a statement Monday night, PGPD said that did not appear to be the case Saturday.

Officials say an officer's chase of a dirt bike driver lasted seven seconds, but video shows other officers following other people in the group before that. It's unclear how long those pursuits lasted.

Video also shows an officer nearly colliding with someone on a dirt bike and then following the rider in a patrol car on to a grassy area. Officials say the pursuit ended in a parking lot along Southern Avenue.

In a statement, PGPD said, "It is not PGPD policy to meet reckless behavior with reckless behavior, but we will continue to evolve strategies such as the escort captured prior to the pursuit, that seeks to prevent innocent persons, either in vehicles or on foot, from being harmed."

PGPD did not say if the officer involved would face any discipline for violating policy.