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Two years after McDole shooting, use of force policy still unchanged

Delaware Public Media

Saturday marks the second anniversary of Jeremy McDole’s death. In 2015, the 28-year-old wheelchair-bound African American was shot and killed by Wilmington police officers. Two years later, an updated use force policy for the city hasn’t been finalized.

No officers were charged in McDole’s death. However, a $1.5 million settlement deal led the city and police department to revisit its use of force policy.


Updates to that policy – including requirements for de-escalation training  – were promised in March. But Robert Tracy wasn’t named the city’s new police chief until April and started reviewing the policy then.


In an interview with Delaware Public Media in late July, Tracy highlighted his experience reviewing similar – but different – use of force policies in Scotland, where knifing homicides are more common than gun violence.


“So we have to make sure that we tailor it towards what we’re up against because there’s really…how much space can you do between a firearm when it’s a bullet instead of a knife?”


Tracy said he still needs to review the results of the department’s body camera pilot program from last year as well, and says cost could be a hindrance. However, he supports the use of the cameras.


“When people wear cameras – not only do people think it’s helping the behavior of the police officers but – a lot of peoples’ behavior when they’re on the other end of that camera improves as well," Tracy said. "And we’re finding a lot of cases where officers there’ve been some accusations against police officers that’ve found not to be true because of the cameras.”


A Wilmington spokesperson said the city plans to release an updated use of force policy in a couple of weeks.


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