Family Of Marine Killed By Baltimore Officer To Sue City For Millions

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Baltimore City now faces a multi-million dollar civil lawsuit, in part for keeping Officer Gahiji Tshamba on the police force—despite his troubled past. On Thursday, a judge found Tshamba guilty of manslaughter for shooting an unarmed Marine.

Mike Hellgren has the follow-up.

The victim’s family says they want change.  In their civil suit, they question whether officers are properly trained and whether what happened at that Mount Vernon night club one year ago could have been prevented.

As the family of Tyrone Brown left the courthouse, you see their attorney Dwight Pettit close by. Minutes before, he was in the courtroom when a judge said Tshamba overreacted when he shot Brown a dozen times.

Pettit represents the family in a $270 million lawsuit against the city.

“How many more Tshambas do you have out there carrying lethal weapons and having to make decisions on life and death?” Pettit asked. “It raises very, very strong questions about whether or not he should have been armed and on the street as a police officer in the first place.” 

The shooting destroyed Tshamba’s career and devastated Brown’s family.

“Tshamba, the officer, I never will forgive him,” said Vivian Scott, Brown’s mother.

Over the past four years, the city has paid out more than $7 million to settle police misconduct claims.

 Tshamba had a troubled past. Police found he was drunk and suspended him in 2005 after he shot George McAleer, who spoke to WJZ exclusively last year.

“He was just going crazy,” McAleer said. “No announcement he was a police officer.”

WJZ’s media partner the Baltimore Sun reported in 2006 that Tshamba crashed into a light pole and didn’t have his license or registration. And in 2001, he arrested a woman because of the way she signed a ticket.

“It’s quite disturbing that something is systemically wrong with our police department,” Pettit said. 

Police say shootings involving officers are down, and they’re re-training officers. That’s little consolation to Brown’s sister, who has to live the rest of her life without him.

“My brother was my best friend,” said Chantay Kangalee in tears, “and it was only right for me to stand up for him.” 

Tshamba may be sentenced to 30 years in jail for manslaughter and a handgun violation.  He plans to appeal.

The civil lawsuit also questions why police did not make Tshamba take a breathalyzer test and why they did not immediately arrest him.

More from Mike Hellgren
  • hank b

    i have lost a brother and the country lost a marine because of an alcoholic overempowered bully.
    i hope the family gets every penny of their lawsuit.

    semper fidelis

  • lizzie

    I truly understand why this family is suing but how did they ever arrive at that amount? Amounts like that make you wonder where the fine line is between need and greed. I can totally understand if he has dependent children or a wife who relied on his income with a few ‘extra million’ thrown in but is this an amount that a money hungry lawyer recommended? Just wondering.God bless you Tyrone Brown and my you rest in peace.

    • Crazyness

      Imagine that . Didnt take long for that . But what is the money gonna do and how did theya rrive at that amount its funny the city caps out at 500,000 for lawsiuts sounds like to me there is more geed then need for 270 mil

    • Rock1

      Usually it’s the attorney who comes up with the amount to sue for. The attorneys will generally over inflate the amount they realisticly expect to get. Because usually they get a lesser amount than what they sue for, therefore, they inflate. Then the attroney get his 20 to 40 percent and the family get whats left. There is no way they will be awarded for the amount in the suite.

    • Rock1

      Usually it’s the attorney who comes up with the amount to sue for. The attorneys will generally over inflate the amount they realisticly expect to get. Because usually they get a lesser amount than they sue for, they inflate. Then the attroney get his 20 to 40 percent and the family get whats left. There is no way they will get that amount.

  • Crazyness

    I do understand why they r suing anyone of us would but the sad thibng is money isnt going to change anything that place needs to be cleaned up starting at the top. They will continue to pay tehre way out of everything . Money downthere is tehre way of getting out of stuff and I hope that some judge does infact over rule the settle ment policy and force them accoutable. They ac like they are so shocked and they shouldve expected this from the begining the department not the g=fam i mean. The department should have expected to be sued the minute that all eneded. It s sad you go through watr come home and this happens .

  • Doug

    Sorry to the family of the Marine.
    I would NOT give you money,but instead
    have the murdering cop executing,out of respect to your son.
    Why punish all of us,with such a lawsuit.
    The city’s broke,as it is.

    • chester

      who care’s…blacks…

  • commonsense

    And what if this officer was just another thug on the street…then how much would the family be suing for?

    Even if the guy worked 30 years and made 40,000 dollars a year he wouldnt even be worth 1.5 million in earnerd income.

    It’s hard to put a value on life…but society as. If he died in combat how many millions would the family get? Yeah exactly.

    The family will get a settlement…no doubt…but money isnt going to right the situation so why sue for some insane amount just for an attorney to get 20-25%.

    The suspect in this case was found to be outside the legal parameter of a police officer and was found not to be defending himself or acting as a policy officer. So how exactly are the citizens of Baltimore responsible for his actions. Go after the guy…dont assault the citizens with stealing their money.

  • gjm

    As a police officer and a Marine, this incident is heartbreaking on so many levels. As a Marine, I’m sorry to see one of my brothers shot down by a sorry excuse for a police officer and human being. Although I am disappointed in my fellow Marine for disrespecting a woman like he did, it does NOT mean he deserved to be given a death sentence carried out on the street by this so called police officer. As a police officer, I am embarrassed to have shared the same profession as this POS. While I do not work for the same department, his actions reflects on us all. He should have been identified and weeded out long ago. For the family of Brown, I am sorry that the officer was only convicted of involutary manslaughter. It should have been 2nd degree murder. In many cases that officers use deadly force, there is always someone that claims the police acted inappropriately when in fact they reacted completely appropriate. In this case however, there is no excuse for this officer’s actions. None whatsoever. This officer’s actions makes the 90 percent of officers that do the job honorably and right look bad and causes the 90 percent of the public who support the police shake there heads. At the same time, it gives the 10 percent of people who will always hate the police a reason to talk. Tragic for so many.

  • Jeff

    You knew this was coming. The problem is that the court ruled that he wasn’t acting in a police capacity. So knowing that, it just makes him another person on the street. The Judge said he didn’t identify himself as a police officer and he wasn’t acting in a police officer capacity, so that just makes him a regular guy on the street. Why should the taxpayers of Baltimore have to pay money to this family. I understand their loss, but that’s what the judicial system is for, to bring criminals to justice and that’s what happened here. This suing the city for that amount of money just comes off as greedy and now somewhat expected from certain residents of Baltimore City. Every incident that occurs, lets just sue the city. We might not get 200 something million but we will get something. It’s crazy. Sueing the city doesn’t change anything. It doens’t bring a loved one back, and it doesn’t spur change. That’s what the family is trying to push so it doesn’t seem like they are looking for a pay day. Change. Yeah right. What’s going to change??? The city PD is lacking money which usually leads to poor hirings. Sueing them for millions only adds to the problem. One last thing, this cop also saved another officers life while he was on the job. The story conveniently left that out while they list some negative stuff. You list the bad that you say he shouldn’t have been on the force but you also leave off a huge piece that shows why he was on the force. The bottom line is that he murdered someone and is now going to jail for essentially the rest of his life. Justice was served.

  • Chad

    I usually disagree with civil lawsuits especially when ppl seek millions for bogus lead paint suits, etc. but in this case the city deserves it. This guy was found drunk in the past in which he shot someone in the foot during an argument. He also arrested someone on how they signed their ticket. What kind of department would keep on a cop like this?? They should get a slap on the face lawsuit.. their irresponsibility’s caused a death to a marine. The department deserves a lawsuit for keeping this guy on the force.

    • gm

      you are totally right.

  • MzB

    I wish I could say I was suprised this uncaged animal is getting away with a manslaughter charge. He murdered that man, and his charge should have reflected such!

  • chester

    who care’s…

  • whatnow

    No, this guy does not deserve to be dead, and yes the officer is a menace who deserves his jail time, but the family deserves no money. he should have been home with his wife and kid instead of in a bar, slapping some woman’s behind.

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