BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Under fire over the deaths of two men in police custody. Baltimore’s top cop announced changes to the way the department will handle in-custody deaths.
Monique Griego has more.
The changes come after an independent committee reviewed one of the cases.
More than a year after 46-year-old Anthony Anderson died in Baltimore police custody,an independent committee released its findings Tuesday that no police brutality was involved.
“It’s clear to me that the actions of officers in the arrest were lawful and proper,” said University of Maryland Chief of Police Dave Mitchell.
Anderson died from blunt force injuries, including a ruptured spleen and fractured ribs.
His death was ruled a homicide but the state’s attorney declined to file charges, saying the officers did not use excessive force.
“I saw them kick him; I saw them throw him to the ground and that’s what happened,” said his sister, Shayner Anderson, in January.
But Anderson’s case is one of two recent high-profile deaths. In July, Tyrone West also died in police custody. This week, an autopsy cited a heart condition and dehydration as his cause of death.
The controversies surrounding both cases led the commissioner to make major changes.
“Our focus and our goal is to be transparent, whether we do things well or whether we don’t do things well,” said Commissioner Anthony Batts.
The department created a reform model to improve training and the investigations of in-custody deaths. The committee also recommended it review the use of the “bear hug” takedown method used in Anderson’s arrest.
But the Anderson family’s attorney believes the review itself was flawed from the start.
“If you start with a compromised and faulty investigation, I don’t care what committee you look for advice to give you, the results are going to be the same,” said J. Wyndal Gordon.
Anderson’s family has filed a federal multi-million dollar lawsuit against the officers and the department.
While the autopsy for West was released, the state’s attorney still has to review the case to determine if charges will be filed.
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