Baltimore Police reassign supervisor of unit tied to West case, fatal crash

November 04, 2013|By Justin Fenton, The Baltimore Sun

Baltimore police have reassigned a supervisor who oversaw a Baltimore police unit tied to the in-custody death of Tyrone West and a vehicle pursuit that turned fatal, the department confirmed.

Lt. Eric Kowalcyzk, a police spokesman, said that the reassignment of Lt. Parker Elliott from the Northeastern District operations unit to patrol did not mean that Elliott had done anything wrong. Elliott was not suspended as part of the probe of either incident.

"The commissioner's made very clear that when we're concerned, we're going to pause and look at what's happening," Kowalcyzk said. "This is us taking a look to see whether there are systemic propblems."

Citing the department's policy prohibiting officers from speaking to the press, Elliott referred questions back to Kowalcyzk. 

Nine officers were suspended after police said West was pulled over in Northeast Baltimore in August, became combative and went into "medical distress." More than 100 days have passed and the medical examiner's office has yet to determine a cause of death, and West's family has been protesting weekly to demand answers

Then in late September, officers from the same unit were riding in an unmarked vehicle and "observed suspicious activity that was criminal in nature" near Harford Road and East 25th Street and tried to stop two men in the Honda, police said at the time.

The men in the Honda fled with police in tow to Northern Parkway and York Road, where they collided with another vehicle. Three people died, including both men riding in the suspect vehicle and 46-year-old Angel Chiwengo, who was being driven home from work by a co-worker. 

Both cases remain under investigation, the police department and state's attorney's office say. 

Elliott used to work as a supervisor in the former Violent Crimes Impact Section, which was reorganized under Police Commissioner Anthony W. Batts and renamed the Zone Enforcement Section. 

Elliott supervised three officers who were criminally charged with driving a West Baltimore teenager to Howard County and leaving him in a park without shoes or a cell phone. Elliott and another supervisor testified at their trialsaying that they were not advised that the officers were leaving their designated area that night, but calling the officers the "best of the best." 

He was also off-duty in 2010 when he passed along a tip from an informant in Northwest Baltimore that a man on a porch had a handgun. Two detectives went to the home and opened fire on the man with the gun, killing the informant by accident. The Sun posted a copy of that report in 2011 here

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