The family of Tyrone Brown is suing Baltimore Police officer Gahiji Tshamba for his Maryland wrongful death. They are seeking $270 million. Tshamba shot Brown dead last summer outside a Mt. Vernon night club. The Baltimore cop is charged with first-degree murder.
Per charging documents, Tshamba shot the East Baltimore man 12 times on June 5, 2010—not just 6 or 9 times, as was reported. Witnesses say that Brown grabbed Tshamba’s female companion in an inappropriate fashion and that was when the officer challenged him with his gun. The Baltimore wrongful death complaint contends that Brown’s hands were already in the air before the off-duty cop shot him.
Also named as defendants are the state of Maryland, Baltimore’s city council, its mayor, and Police Commissioner Frederick Bealefeld. The plaintiffs say that Tshamba violated department protocol because he was carrying his gun while intoxicated. They contend that Tshamba shouldn’t have been a member of the police force.
Last summer, The Sun reported that Tshamba shot another man in the foot in 2005. He was also off-duty at the time and driving while intoxicated. He shot someone in the back in 1998 after mistakenly thinking that the other person had fired first. Brown’s family is questioning why, despite indicators that Tshamba had a propensity for using excessive violence, he has been allowed to stay on the police force. They are also questioning the way the police department handled their investigation of Brown’s fatal shooting, including not requiring that he take an alcohol test immediately after and waiting a month after the tragic shooting to get a statement from him.
Baltimore Police Misconduct
The Daily Record reports that a summary by a city council woman noted that from mid-2007 to mid-2010, the city of Baltimore paid $7.25 million to settle police misconduct claims. Unfortunately, police misconduct can happen and may include civil rights violations, such as police brutality, sexual assault, threats, verbal abuse, and unjustified/excessive use of physical violence.
Family of Marine shot by city officer sues for $270 million, The Baltimore Sun, January 18, 2011
Baltimore City Police Officer charged with murder denied bail during bail review, ABC2News, June 13, 2010
Related Web Resource:
Police brutality, Maryland Accident Law Blog