BALTIMORE (WJZ)— The family of a Baltimore man who died in police custody has filed a multimillion dollar wrongful death lawsuit against 11 officers and the city’s police commissioner.
Christie Ileto reports this is one of two excessive force lawsuits filed against some of the same officers.
Tyrone West’s family filed a multimillion dollar lawsuit Monday against the Baltimore City Police officers they claim are responsible for his death–citing assault, violation of civil rights and wrongful death.
The family broke down while reliving the traffic stop that turned deadly.
“The saddest part, the officers are still on the street. These dangerous serial killers on the street to come and harm somebody else,” said Towanda Jones, West’s sister.
The arrest unfolded July 18, 2013 on Kitmore Road in East Baltimore. Autopsy results found West died because of a heart condition made worst because of his struggle with police.
But residents who witnessed the altercation say he was beaten excessively.
“They were just beating him. He kept saying ‘You got me, you got me,’” one person said.
“He began to throw punches. He was kicking,” said another.
The State’s Attorney’s Office cleared the officers of wrongdoing, saying force was justified. They used their fists, batons and pepper spray to subdue West, who later died in their custody.
Abdul Salaam claims he too was attacked by two of the same officers in the West case during a traffic stop just 18 days before West died.
“I was basically beaten within inches of my life over a seat belt,” Salaam said.
Salaam has also filed suit for excessive force.
The families of both West and Salaam allege if the officers had been taken off duty for the earlier incident, maybe West would still be alive.
“They had knowledge of the propensity of these officers to be violent, engage in violent unconstitutional behavior,” said Dwight Pettit, attorney.
Investigators have said they found bags of cocaine in West’s car during the July 2013 traffic stop.
Police did not respond to immediate requests for comment on the lawsuits.
Commissioner Batts did appoint an outside review panel to look into West’s death.
Morgan State University’s police chief and another officer are among those named in the lawsuit.
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