Taipei City Police released video footage of an incident, and held a press conference today, to refute claims made by a man charged with drunk driving that officers had fired shots at him, and had beaten him during the subsequent arrest, after he failed to stop at a police roadside drunk-driving checkpoint.
According to reports, Mr Chen, a 41-year-old real estate agent, drove his Mercedes Benz sedan through a police checkpoint on Chang’an East Road in Zhongshan District at around 2:00am November 3.
At least one officer drew his handgun, and a total of 9 shots were fired at the vehicle.
Chen then stopped his vehicle and exited with his hands up, shouting “sorry, sorry.”
Police rushed forward, restrained Chen, then handcuffed and arrested him. Chen was found to have a breath alcohol reaction measuring BrAC 0.76mg/l, which is more than three times over the legal limit for drivers in Taiwan (BrAC 0.25mg/l [BAC 0.05%]).
Mr Chen was subsequently charged with the crime of Public Endangerment, and also Obstructing Official Duties (for charging through the police checkpoint).
Chen turned to the media and claimed that police had used excessive force during his arrest. While not denying that he had committed a criminal offence, Chen claimed that the officers had deliberately aimed at him when shooting.
Furthermore, after he exited the vehicle and apologized for not stopping, he was manhandled, punched and kicked by the officers, Chen said.
Chen claimed that he had inadvertently driven through the checkpoint, not knowing that officers were attempting to flag him down. Chen said that he saw a scooter rider being pulled up at the checkpoint, had been distracted at the time, and had accidentally stepped on the accelerator.
Chen showed reporters the bullet holes in his car. There were two bullet holes in the driver’s side rear door, and bullet grazes on the driver’s side rear door, front door, front fender, hood, and grill.
The police officers involved today countered Chen’s claims, and released video footage of the incident.
The officers said that they had noticed Chen’s car veering left and right as it approached the checkpoint, and had blown whistles and waved a lighted traffic baton to flag the driver down.
The video of the incident showed that Chen had clearly accelerated through the checkpoint in an attempt to evade the police.
An officer is then seen drawing his pistol and shooting at the vehicle multiple times.
The officer said that he had seen the suspect speeding towards his colleague, putting his colleague in danger and had fired the shots in the interests of ensuring public safety.
The officer claims to have aimed at the tires, but possibly due to nervousness, had missed, and hit other parts of the car. The shots, and subsequent restraining of the suspect were all according to standard, legal police procedures, and part of a zero-tolerance policy against drunk driving, police said.
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