Reporting Mike Hellgren
BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Making his case. A city officer on trial for murder gets a chance to present his defense.
Officer Gahiji Tshamba’s defense team began its case Tuesday morning after days of prosecution testimony aimed at bolstering the theory he murdered unarmed Marine Tyrone Brown.
Mike Hellgren reports the case got a little more complicated.
Brown’s sister took the stand and a packed courtroom hung on her every word. She broke down in an emotional interview with WJZ last year. Now she was calm in court as she recounted her brother’s last words. The defense called her, hoping that what they called inconsistencies with her statement.
“I’m surprised the defense put her on. I think she was consistent with the prosecution,” said Dwight Pettit, Brown family attorney.
She testified her brother smacked the officer’s female companion on his backside and Tshamba, without identifying himself as an officer, yelled at Brown. She said he fired shot after shot and, as Brown lay bleeding, just walked off like nothing happened.
“He identified himself and gave orders consistent with making an arrest that night,” said James Rhodes, Tshamba’s defense attorney.
Her account stands in direct contract with the next witness, Crystal Ramsey. She’s the woman who Brown grabbed. She told the judge she slapped Brown and believed he was trying to hit her back. She said Tshamba identified himself as a police officer and said he was going to arrest Brown for touching her. She says Brown chased Tshamba, who shot him in self-defense.
A club promoter also said he witnessed the incident and Brown lunged at Tshamba.
The defense would not say whether Tshamba would testify Wednesday.