A call for a police-shooting investigation

March 13, 2009|By Justin Fenton | Justin Fenton,justin.fenton@baltsun.com

Members of Baltimore's General Assembly delegation and the local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People are calling for an independent investigation into a recent fatal shooting by a Baltimore police officer, saying his three shootings since June 2007 are cause for alarm.

Shawn Cannady, 30, who had a history of drug arrests and convictions, was shot and killed by police in Northwest Baltimore last Friday after, police say, he drove at and struck an officer with his vehicle. Police say the officer - whom The Baltimore Sun has identified as Detective Jemell Rayam - was involved with shootings in June and October 2007, both of which were ruled justified. On Tuesday, he received a citation of valor for his role in one of those shootings.

Del. Curtis S. Anderson said he has not received information to suggest that the recent shooting was unjustified, but he said he is concerned about Rayam's track record and wants an independent authority to review the shooting immediately.

"There are police officers I know who have spent their entire careers without even drawing a gun, and he's shot three people in less than three years," Anderson said. "I don't want the trail [of the recent shooting] to go cold and don't want witnesses to go lost. As soon as an independent agency gets started, the better."

Anderson and the NAACP plan to hold a rally in Annapolis today to call for the investigation.

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