Police officer found not guilty of fatal shooting during car chase in New Taipei City

A police officer was declared not guilty of the fatal shooting that occurred in New Taipei City at a second trial over the March 2022 incident.

According to the prosecution, at around 10:00 pm on March 22, 2022, a man named Lin was driving a Mercedes Benz sedan carrying his girlfriend and two male friends in Zhonghe District. A police officer named Zhang noticed that the car had obvious impact damage on the left side, and ran a check on the license plate. Finding that the license plate was a forgery, Zhang sounded his siren and signaled for the driver to stop.

However, Lin, an unlicensed driver, stepped on the accelerator and attempted to evade the police. A chase ensued, and when Lin was slowed down by traffic and performed an illegal right-hand turn at a red light at the intersection of Zhongzheng and Jinping Road, Zhang fired three shots at the car. One of the bullets penetrated the rear windscreen and hit a man named Zhong in the head. Zhong was rushed to hospital, but eventually died of his injuries.

Bullet hole in rear windscreen.

The prosecution accused Zhang of using excessive force. At the first trial, the New Taipei District Court found Zhang not guilty. Prosecutors then appealed to the High Court. Today the High Court upheld the acquittal, noting that Lin was driving dangerously at high speed on roads with dense traffic and pedestrians. This fact was confirmed by witnesses and police dashcam.

The court found that Zhang had shot at Lin’s car, which complied with the regulations on the use of police weapons. Zhang had targeted the vehicle’s tires. While Zhang’s shooting position was relatively unstable, the situation was urgent. The fact that a bullet hit the rear windscreen cannot be used to determine that Zhang exceeded the regulations on the use of police weapons. The acquittal verdict of the original trial was upheld, and the prosecutor’s appeal was dismissed. The case is still appealable.

See original Taiwan English News report of the shooting.

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