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Criminal Charges for Violating Policy

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  • Criminal Charges for Violating Policy

    Apparently BPD has a very strict policy on pursuits. The officers allegedly broke it off when ordered to. States Attorney wants to see if criminal charges should be placed against officers after the bad guy vehicle struck an innocent bystander.




    Police were ordered off pursuit before fatal crash, union says
    Lawyer for officers says they obeyed orders


    Justin George and Kevin Rector, The Baltimore Sun

    Baltimore police are conducting a criminal investigation into whether officers followed orders to end their pursuit of a sedan before it was involved in a fatal crash this week, a police union attorney said Friday.

    Michael Davey, the lawyer representing the officers who were in a unmarked car that was attempting to stop the sedan, said they acted appropriately and obeyed orders as soon as they received them. Three people died in the fiery accident early Tuesday at Northern Parkway and York Road, and another was critically injured.

    "When they were notified to break it off, they did," he said. "We've also heard information coming from the department that the officers were told to break it off. We're sure that will be investigated, and ... we believe the officers were acting within policy, based on the information they had in hand."

    Police confirmed that a criminal investigation into the conduct of two officers is underway. Lt. Eric Kowalczyk, a police spokesman, declined to discuss whether any orders were given to the officers. He said police do not want to "taint" the inquiry, in which city prosecutors are also involved.

    The Baltimore Police Department's policy prohibits officers from chasing suspects in vehicles except under "exigent circumstances," such as when officers believe that failing to pursue could lead to injury or death. Before police can engage in a high-speed pursuit, agency policy says, officials must consider whether the hazards to pedestrians and other drivers are outweighed by the importance of catching the suspect.

    Officers are supposed to communicate with supervisors before they begin a pursuit, remain in contact and use their lights and siren. Police are looking into whether the officers followed those protocols, Davey said.

    Angel Chiwengo, 46 of Resisterstown was one of three people killed in the crash when the sedan slammed into a Jeep she was riding in. Relatives say she was on her way to see her pregnant daughter, who gave birth later that day. Her brother-in-law, Nathan Franklin, declined to comment on the new details, saying he would reserve opinions until he had more information.

    City Councilman Brandon Scott, who represents the Northeastern police district where officers first encountered the vehicle, said police must "make sure that everybody is following their orders."

    "Just the fact that we had people die in this incident, for me, makes it a high priority," Scott said. "Every rock needs to be turned over to make sure that every process was followed to ensure the safety of not just the victims who unfortunately passed away, but of everyone else on the road that night."

    Just past midnight on Tuesday, plainclothes officers from the Northeastern District were in a rental car when they observed what police described as "suspicious activity that was criminal in nature" near Harford Road and East 25th Street.

    Police said they tried to stop a Honda carrying two men. The car fled, and the officers "followed," police said. The agency has declined to say whether the officers were in what police would describe as either a pursuit or chase.

    The Honda collided with the white Jeep about four miles north, at York Road and Northern Parkway. The crash also killed both passengers in the Honda: Devell Johns, 26, and Terrell Young, 28. The Jeep's driver, 54-year-old Andrew Baker Jr., was critically injured.

    The fiery crash closed the busy intersection for 10 hours while police launched an intensive probe that included repeated landings by a police helicopter carrying crash investigators.

    Police say the officers involved were Adam Storie, a two-year veteran, and Warren Banks II, a five-year veteran.

    Christopher Henard, a three-year veteran, was also involved, but Kowalczyk said "he is not part of the review that we asked the state's attorney to conduct." Kowalczyk did not return an email asking what role Henard played in the pursuit or why prosecutors weren't asked to criminally investigate him.

    Davey said supervisors did ask the officers to halt their pursuit — and that the officers complied.

    "That is what we've been told," he said, "and that is what our officers did."

    Davey said he is aware police are investigating the crash to see whether officers committed any crimes, whether they should face administrative sanctions and whether the department or officers could face any lawsuits.

    He has advised his clients not to speak to investigators until he knows more about the police probe. He said one of the officers has been asked to speak to internal investigators but declined, and the two others have not been asked.

    Davey called all three good officers and said the Fraternal Order of Police stood firmly behind them.

    "It's a horrendous incident," Davey said. "None of them ever wanted to be in a position like this. Whether it's them or some other police officer, they have to make decisions in a split second that other citizens don't have to make."

    Kowalczyk said tapes of radio chatter prior to the crash, which are usually public record and could shed light on what took place before the crash, are being withheld pending the investigation based on a request from the Baltimore City state's attorney's office.

    "We're going to be as careful and as meticulous and as diligent in this investigation as we have to be to make sure we protect the integrity of it," he said.

    The early-morning crash brought a huge response to the scene. Among others, Maryland State Police confirmed that Baltimore police requested about 2:45 a.m. that the state police's crash team respond to the accident. Two state police crash team members arrived at the scene about 4 a.m.

    "When they arrived, they were told by BPD their assistance was not needed, so they left," said Greg Shipley, a state police spokesman, in an email. "MSP was given no information about the incident."

    Davey said a prosecutor from the state's attorney's office was also at the crash site as part of the investigation.

  • #2
    Typical of Baltimore City.

    The citizens won't hold the suspect responsible for their actions, the Courts won't, the local government won't, and now the Police Department isn't either.

    Would love to see what charges they drum up on this one.

    Comment


    • #3
      What a crock.

      Comment


      • #4
        That policy is pretty similar to ours. We also have no protection against the more serious traffic charges should someone high up arbitrarily decide that our driving is dangerous enough to warrant charges.

        If we chased a car after being directed to terminate the pursuit or we didn't use lights and siren we would probably be charged with dangerous driving offences or reckless conduct offences. If the pursuit resulted in a fatality or serious injury to anyone we could be charged with culpable driving.

        Reckless conduct and culpable driving are felony equivalent charges. I therefore avoid pursuits like the plague. I'm not being held liable for the actions of idiot drivers.

        Comment


        • #5
          Sad...

          I feel like the lines between policy and LAW are becoming increasingly blurred. In fact, I think the average citizen honestly couldn't tell you the difference between policy and law when it comes to police.

          Stuff like this would be like the concession employee at a movie theater being brought up on criminal charges because he forgot to offer you the upgrade to the large popcorn for just 25 cents extra. A major difference is his employee policy handbook is 15 pages long, and the police officer's handbook is 500 pages long.
          "No one can make you feel like a turd without your permission." - Eleanor Roosevelt.

          Comment


          • #6
            One of my shiftmates once attempted to make a traffic stop on a stolen vehicle. The roads were a little wet, and there was heavy fog. The suspect car immediately accelerated to 60 mph on a residential street, and the officer did NOT pursue. She turned off her overhead lights and pulled into a nearby parking lot. 2 seconds later there was a loud crash and the suspect had run straight into a tree on a dead end street. The driver was killed and the passenger sustained serious injuries. Thankfully no other car was involved but it easily could have been.

            But whose fault is that?! All the officer did was attempt a typical traffic stop and abandon it as soon as it was obvious the car wasn't stopping. We can't predict the actions of a criminal.
            "No one can make you feel like a turd without your permission." - Eleanor Roosevelt.

            Comment


            • #7
              As long as it isn't the patrol cars that crash, officers should never be liable for a pursuit. People have an absolute duty to stop for the red lights and siren, no exceptions for any reason. Therefore, the fleeing driver bears 100% of the fault for whatever his car his. Wish the judges would pull their heads out.
              Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem. - Ronald Reagan

              I don't think It'll happen in the US because we don't trust our government. We are a country of skeptics, raised by skeptics, founded by skeptics. - Amaroq

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by ateamer View Post
                As long as it isn't the patrol cars that crash, officers should never be liable for a pursuit. People have an absolute duty to stop for the red lights and siren, no exceptions for any reason. Therefore, the fleeing driver bears 100% of the fault for whatever his car his. Wish the judges would pull their heads out.
                I think it's not the judges so much as the ignorant citizenry and kowtowing politicians.
                "No one can make you feel like a turd without your permission." - Eleanor Roosevelt.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Really? Criminal charges against the cops b/c what the criminals did? Are there any big city PD's that don't throw their officers under the bus for the sake of politics? And people wonder why it is hard to get qualified candidates to apply?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Mulgrave600 View Post
                    That policy is pretty similar to ours. We also have no protection against the more serious traffic charges should someone high up arbitrarily decide that our driving is dangerous enough to warrant charges.

                    If we chased a car after being directed to terminate the pursuit or we didn't use lights and siren we would probably be charged with dangerous driving offences or reckless conduct offences. If the pursuit resulted in a fatality or serious injury to anyone we could be charged with culpable driving.

                    Reckless conduct and culpable driving are felony equivalent charges. I therefore avoid pursuits like the plague. I'm not being held liable for the actions of idiot drivers.
                    Yeah its pretty much the same here mate. We must under go a 20 Point Pursuit check prior to engaging in a pursuit. They gave us a laminated check list in the car that we are expected to read and "check off" as we drive - LOL fkn funny as. What a joke. Rarely does anyone dare engage in a pursuit these days. You get hung out to dry while very little responsibility is placed on the bad guys. Like Mulgrave600, I don't pursue unless its very very serious. Just not worth it.
                    The sheep don't like the sheepdog, He has sharp teeth and looks just like a wolf. However when the wolves come an entire flock attempts to hide behind one lonely sheepdog.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Aust View Post
                      Yeah its pretty much the same here mate. We must under go a 20 Point Pursuit check prior to engaging in a pursuit. They gave us a laminated check list in the car that we are expected to read and "check off" as we drive - LOL fkn funny as. What a joke. Rarely does anyone dare engage in a pursuit these days. You get hung out to dry while very little responsibility is placed on the bad guys. Like Mulgrave600, I don't pursue unless its very very serious. Just not worth it.
                      We don't have something as formal as a check list. We have different classes of vehicle and licence that affects whether we can chase or what speed we do though. I work traffic with the top class of licence so I'm theoretically allowed to go as fast as I like.

                      Where our policy falls down is its vagueness. We are allowed to chase but must conduct a thorough ongoing risk assessment and terminate if the risks outweigh the result. The problem is that anyone involved can terminate and if anyone besides the pursuing unit calls it off you get the pleasure of a review board containing a few inspectors and senior sergeants.

                      You might be in pursuit thinking it's going well but the district sergeant might disagree with you and call it off. Or the divisional senior sergeant. Or the regional inspector. As they say; our only protection is RR305 and it's not a very strong one.

                      We should announce a total ban on pursuits and urgent duty driving like they did in WA and watch the bosses and politicians backpedal like mad.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I didn't see these guys do an ongoing check list.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Ha ha that was filmed in the 1970s when things were done a bit differently even off screen. Some of the war stories I've heard from the coppers of that era are incredible. The pursuit policy was basically: "if he runs, chase him and catch him."

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            70s cop checklist:

                            ☑ Did he run?
                            Catch that mother****er!

                            Comment

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