BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The parents of a detective killed in the line of duty clutched their son’s picture and the flag that once draped his casket at a press conference where their lawyer detailed a new lawsuit filed in the case.
Prince George’s County Det. Jacai Colson was killed in March 2016 after responding to an active shooter at police headquarters in Palmer Park.
Fellow Officer Taylor Krauss mistook Colson for the suspect and fatally shot him. Krauss declined to comment to WJZ.
The Colson family’s Baltimore-based attorney, Jason Downs, says the detective was yelling, “Police! Police!” and holding his badge in the air when he was killed.
“Officer Krauss fired from a football field away at a person he could not identify,” Downs said at the press conference in Upper Marlboro Thursday. “When a police officer shoots first and asks questions later, the system fails us.”
Downs said the Colson family was “disappointed and outraged that no criminal charges had been filed” against Krauss. Both Krauss and Prince George’s County are named as defendants in the lawsuit.
A grand jury did not find enough evidence to indict Krauss after a seven-week investigation, and he remains on the Prince George’s County police force.
Prosecutors say the incident started when Michael Ford opened fire outside the headquarters building while his brothers, Malik and Elijah, documented his rampage. Pictures the Ford brothers took that day show Michael Ford with a gun in his hand during his ambush.
Colson arrived in plainclothes and shot Michael Ford, subduing him. Colson then headed away from the scene when police say Krauss shot and killed him.
Michael Ford’s trial is scheduled for October, and the state’s attorney’s office said Krauss should be held accountable for Colson’s death.
“He faces a second-degree murder charge in the death of Detective Colson. We believe that it is Michael Ford who is responsible for Colson’s death because had he not been there that day shooting at the police station, the officers who responded, and the cars that were driving by, Detective Colson’s death would not have happened,” said John Erzen, the spokesman for State’s Attorney Angela Alsobrooks.
“We understand this is a grieving family,” Erzen said.
Malik Ford is facing a maximum of 20 years in prison. His brother Elijah Ford is facing 12 years. They will be sentenced once Michael Ford’s trial is over.
Colson was 28 at the time of his death and had served on the Prince Geroge’s County police force for four years.
“Complete accountability in this case requires us to ask, ‘Do we want officers shooting at people they cannot see?'” asked the Colson family’s lawyer. “We want complete accountability and complete transparency.”