Baltimore cops who shot 14yo holding BB gun should be ID'd - attorneys
Legal representatives of Dedric Colvin, 14, and his mother, Volanda Young, have filed a complaint with the Baltimore City Circuit Court in which they asked the court to demand the Baltimore Police Department reveal vital details surrounding the April 2016 shooting of Colvin, as well as the subsequent arrest of Young.
The attorneys said they plan to file a lawsuit against the Baltimore PD for "excessive force, illegal arrest, false imprisonment, deprivation of liberty and property, false arrest, assault, battery," the complaint states, according to the Baltimore Sun.
The lawyers said that continuing to wait for the Baltimore PD to voluntarily offer details, including the badge numbers and names of all officers involved in the shooting and arrest, could mean a lapse in the statute of limitations for filing such a lawsuit.
Maryland law does not allow lawsuits against unnamed officers, the Sun reported.
On April 27, 2016, Colvin, then 14 years old and a middle school student, was shot by Baltimore PD once in the calf and once in the shoulder for possessing a spring-air-powered BB gun, a fake firearm. Colvin was walking in an East Baltimore neighborhood on his way to show his friends the fake gun that he found in an alley by his house, according to his attorneys. Two plainclothes officers began running after Colvin, chasing him for about 150 yards, demanding he stop.
"Dedric informed them the gun was 'just a toy' and 'not real' and threw the BB gun to the ground," his legal representatives wrote in the complaint. "As Dedric, who was unarmed, proceeded to kneel to the ground with his hands in the air, one of the officers fired two shots at him, striking him twice."
Colvin survived the shooting. His mother, Young, found her son shot and was eventually arrested for acting erratically at the scene, according to Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis.
"Upon Ms. Young's arrival, officers shouted at her and told her to 'back the f--- up' while pointing tasers at her," the attorneys wrote. "The officers then arrested Ms. Young, took her to a police station, put her in a cell and detained her."
Davis has defended the officers' actions given the fake gun appeared to be real. The commissioner has said one witness claimed that Colvin was holding the replica and had raised it upon turning to face the officers.
Baltimore PD has identified 12-year police veteran Thomas Smith as one of the officers who shot Colvin. The officer with Smith and other officers involved in Young's arrest have not been named.
Neither Young nor Colvin was charged with a crime, Davis has said. The department's investigation of the incident is ongoing, and it has not offered records of the shooting to the family's attorneys, the attorneys wrote in the complaint.
Baltimore PD told the Sun it was consulting with the state's attorney's office and would not comment further.
The fake gun Colvin was holding was a replica of a Beretta semiautomatic pistol, the Baltimore PD has said, calling to mind the fatal shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice by Cleveland police in November 2014. Rice was playing with a replica gun when police officers shot and killed him at a playground outside a recreation center.
The family's attorneys are from the firm Murphy, Falcon & Murphy, which represented the relatives of Freddie Gray, helping the family win a $6.4 million settlement for Gray's 2015 death while in custody of the Baltimore PD.
Gray's death set off fierce rioting and protests over police brutality in Baltimore. The fatal police encounters that killed Rice and Gray, as well as many other incidents involving people of color in the US, have triggered mass demonstrations against racial profiling, police brutality, police impunity, and the overall police-court-prison system in America.
In response to Colvin's shooting, the Baltimore City Council banned fake guns that mimic real firearms, instituting a $250 fine for possession of such replicas.