Reporting Derek Valcourt
BALTIMORE (WJZ)—Police Commissioner Anthony Batts finally speaks out about the fiery, fatal crash in Baltimore that left three people dead–outraging their families.
Derek Valcourt has more on what the commissioner is saying about the crash.
Calling it a horrific tragedy, he took this opportunity to speak out about why the department will not release more details on their investigation and what really happened that night.
“There are some issues I have concern with overall with the incident that took place out there. Kind of disturbing,” said Batts.
For the first time, Police Commissioner Anthony Batts speaks to WJZ about the fiery crash that killed three people early Tuesday morning. That’s when two suspects were fleeing from police officers who were trying to pull them over after witnessing a possible crime.
The two suspects died when their Honda slammed into a Jeep, carrying 46-year-old Angel Chiwengo. She also died. The Jeep’s driver survived, though, critically injured.
Now families want answers. Were police pursuing the suspects? Were their lights and sirens activated? And were they following the department’s pursuit policy, which allows a chase only under strict circumstances.
Police admit their officers followed the suspects for miles, but stop short of calling it a chase.
“We have a pretty good concept of what took place out there right now. But there are holes and gaps. We haven’t talked to the officers yet,” Batts said. “In the state of Maryland, you have a very strong officer bill of rights that gives them a certain amount of time. So before we jump out there and share a lot of information, we need to talk to the officers, talk to everyone and build that picture.”
Some family members of the victims are already pointing blame.
“Who do you hold responsible for this accident?” Valcourt asked.
“Police,” said Angela Baker, survivor’s daughter.
Baker: “Because they shouldn’t have chased the people. I think the police need to be charged with this. Charged with three murders and attempted murder.”
Former police commissioner, Ed Norris, now a CBS radio host, says the department’s pursuit policy is all about citizen safety. He says frustration should be directed not at police, but at the suspects.
“And they caused the accident and the fatalities and I think people need to focus on that and stop pointing the finger at the police department constantly. How about the guys who were trying to get away for I don’t know what reason?” said Norris.
The current police commissioner says they will be turning all of their investigative information over to the state’s attorney’s office, who will ultimately decide what, if anything, the officers involved did wrong and whether any charges should be filed in the case.
Police have identified the two suspects who died in the crash as Terrell Young and Devell Johns.