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Independent review faults city police in Tyrone West case

Panel says officers did not use excessive force, but made mistakes

August 08, 2014|By Justin Fenton, The Baltimore Sun

The agency has also created a "Force Investigation Team," which replaced the homicide unit as the primary investigators of high-profile cases that involve use of force by officers. And the agency has created a page on its website where it lists those cases being investigated by the team. Eventually, officials said, they will post final reports of such incidents, though none has been posted.

"We talk about reform and the heavy lifting it takes. This is it," said Deputy Commissioner Jerry Rodriguez.

The status of the officers involved remains unclear. Michael E. Davey, who represents the officers and a Morgan State University campus police officer who was also involved, said no official finding had been handed down from internal affairs. "They may be waiting for this [report]," he said. Davey, who had not seen the report Friday, criticized the outside reviews as overkill.

The panel was the second convened by Batts to review a high-profile in-custody death. A panel that reviewed the death of Anthony Anderson, whose findings were presented in December 2013, found no evidence that circumstances surrounding Anderson's death amounted to a crime, but made some recommendations for how police can better track their use of force. Anderson had been thrown to the ground during a drug arrest, causing his spleen to rupture.

Stewart, a former director for the National Institute of Justice, was not involved in that review but led an earlier panel that reviewed the friendly fire shooting death of Officer William Torbit in 2011.

Stewart said the department agreed to post an update in six months on its progress implementing suggestions from the report.

"They did exactly what we asked them to do, which is be transparent and help us change," Batts said.

jfenton@baltsun.com


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