BALTIMORE (WJZ)— Guilty of manslaughter—not of murder. That’s the judge’s decision for the city police officer on trial for the shooting death of a Marine.

Gigi Barnett explains the victim’s family is happy with the verdict.

Despite Officer Gahiji Tshamba not being found guilty of the harsher first- or second-degree murder charges, the family is calling the verdict a victory.

The judge spared Tshamba a murder conviction, but said he believed he was drunk and that he never should have pulled out a weapon when a man touched his female friend’s buttocks. He found him guilty of manslaughter and a felony handgun crime.

Tshamba was driven off in a correction van minutes after a judge found him guilty of the felony crimes. He faces 30 years in prison for killing unarmed Marine Tyrone Brown outside a nightclub in Mount Vernon.

The victim’s widow says she’s “elated.”

“We really are. It’s been tough, but we are very happy with the verdict,” said Lauren Brown.

And the judge says only one witness was credible. Brown’s sister, who watched the tragic incident. She watched 12 bullets pierce her brother’s body.

“I was here for the justice for my brother,” said Chantay Kangalee. “And all I could do is tell the truth. And that’s what I did.”

She said her brother begged for his life, that this was not self-defense. The judge believed Tshamba never identified himself as a police officer and grossly overreacted.

“Manslaughter is a murder conviction,” said prosecuting attorney Kevin Wiggins. “We see this as a victory for the family and the citizens of Baltimore City.  A bad cop is off the streets. He does not represent the many men and women who risk their lives every day. He is a bad shining light on those good officers who do what they do every day.”

But the judge did believe one component of Officer Tshamba’s testimony.

“The court rejects the defendant’s version of the facts, does not believe the defendant when he testified he identified himself as a police officer [and] that he had consumed only one beer,” Judge Edward Hargadon wrote. “There is one portion of the defendant’s testimony which this court does find credible: the defendant was afraid.”

“I’m not sure legally that you can find that the officer, you believe that the officer was scared and not believe that he had the right to take the action that he did,” said defense attorney James Rhodes.

The judge also said Tshamba was trying to defend the honor of his female friend, and no reasonable officer would use this kind of force.

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

When the verdict was read in the courtroom, Tshamba’s family cried and gasped. But for the first time, the victim’s mother spoke to the media after the verdict was read.

The victim’s family left the courtroom, holding each other, still shaken by the year’s worth of mourning and judicial proceedings.

Brown’s mother took several minutes to collect herself to say this about the case:

“Cops are not above the law. Not above the law. He has to go to jail just like everybody else, for doing the crime. He murdered my son. But as [for] Tshamba, the officer, I never will forgive him,” said Vivian Scott, victim’s mother.

She did not comment on the fact that Tshamba was only found guilty of manslaughter, versus being found guilty of murder. However, she and her daughter-in-law have already filed a multi-million dollar lawsuit in this case against the officer and the city. That is still pending.

The defense says they will appeal the judge’s ruling. 

Sentencing in this case is scheduled for August.

Comments (84)
  1. letstellthetruth says:

    k

  2. tired says:

    For those of you who keep blaming the cops for “getting away” with things….why don’t you think about these Baltimore City juries and in this case the judge. These are the people that don’t convict or punish harshly enough.

  3. Reality Check says:

    There are some cops who have college (undergraduate and /or graduate) degrees in Baltimore City.If anyone thinks he or she could do a better job, apply for a position with the Baltimore City Police Department. Instead of being a part of the problem, be a part of the solution.

  4. golferboy says:

    Yawn…Who Care’s…

  5. Billy says:

    Two thugs off the street win / win

  6. Jeff says:

    This stupid arrogant drunk cop got away easy and will probably get a light sentence. It will be great to see what happens to him in Jessup or Maryland house of corrections. Hope he gets the hell beat out of him the gun happy stupid jerkoff.

    He is like most other cops who were beat up in school, only grew to 5’7″, daddys left them, and a whole host of other things to make them very insecure people that their guns badges and COSTUMES give them things to hide behind.

    Here’s hoping that orange jump suit fits like your police man costume stupid jerkoff!!!

  7. ha ha says:

    what the…

  8. ha ha says:

    BALTIMORE CITY PD: This is a message from the citizens you rare sworn to protect and serve: WE DON’T TRUST YOU because of people like Tshamba and those people who defend what he did.

    You have no character
    You have no honor
    You do not protect
    You do not serve
    We do not trust you.

    To harass and intimidate…and possibly shoot 13 times. The new BCPD motto.

  9. Mary Jane says:

    Well let’s try living w/o the Police and see where that gets us. All cops are not bad the bad ones always make the news the good ones never get the credit. And I said if you can’t do the time don’t do the CRIME.

    1. ha ha says:

      Don’t be obtuse, Mary Jane, we’re not saying that all cops are bad, but that cops like this one and his supporters are not setting a very good precedent, now are they? They make good cops look bad…you’re a perfect example of that kind of assumption, just look at how you assumed we were talking abut ALL cops. This makes the job of the police far more difficult. You, too, should be outraged.

  10. Mike says:

    Why is it that the people that “Hate” cops so much are the same ones that call every day, ALL day! These people hate cops because they get caught committing a crime. If you aren’t doing anything wrong you have nothing to worry about. Not everyone that lives in the ghetto has a criminal record and has been arrested.

  11. First Responder says:

    @Mike: Thank you, very we’ll spoken.
    @Rocky: I can tell you’ve been incarcerated. You more than likely will return to prison, mainly, because you loved being Big Rufus’ girlfriend.
    @Andy: If I had double flushed you wouldn’t be here. @Sheriff: I like what your mom says about you. It’s all , more than likely, true. I’m a 24 year BPD veteran and there’s no way you’re in law enforcement .By the way, when do I get my chance with her?

    1. ha ha says:

      Classy…nice way to set an example,there “officer”… typical BCPD

  12. letstellthetruth says:

    I am so glad that this cop got found guilty,for those of you who dont know 6 out of every 10 Balt City police officer have prior crimianal records that the police department helped get expunged from the record so that these guys could be so called police officers another large number of the balt city police dept are ones who tried to get in with Maryland state police or other county law enforcement agencies and were turned down so they went to the city that is very easy to get in with matter of fact they pretty much are begging for officers because no one with any kind of values or morals wants to work in TRASHY baltimore city with the TRASHY people that live there,many years ago the city have a very good group of officers but that is going back like 50 plus yrs ago,so keep in mind the next time you see a baltimore city cop he was probably a prior criminal makes you feel safe does it not-as far as the family of the man that got killed I hope they win a big law suit against the city and my prayers are with them,maybe the city should re-think about the fact that they let these officer/criminals carry their service revolvers with them 24/7 even when they are off duty and out drinking at a bar I gotta give it to Baltimore City for getting a I on the test for idiots

  13. Primetime Editorials says:

    u never take sand to the beach i dont understand why people take their wife or gf to a dance club, go to a movie, a concert, u know someone will hit on yo woman and then you act this way so sad and dumb he needs life
    i feel sorry for the widow
    http://ethicalfutures.wordpress.com/2011/06/09/this-day-in-history/

    1. JQP says:

      I have read this comment 8 times because, really, I thought it was a joke or someone who meant to say something else, but really? Should not the question then be, why are you going to bars and dance clubs without your wife? I mean, if you’re going to be purist, then you’re job is to maintain your household,not go out galavanting about town with your buddies. Who do you dance with at these “dance clubs”? Honestly, ‘sand to the beach’…. why go to the beach for the sand if you have sand at home?

  14. STP says:

    Maybe now the Marine will learn to keep his hands to himself next time. Oops, guess he can’t learn from this lesson since he’s dead.

    1. JQP says:

      k…I am a woman, I’ve been a waitress and a commuter (ask any woman who rides the NYC subway)…I have been pinched, grabbed and smacked on the backside and usually a good natured reproach does the job just fine. Somehow I never felt it necessary to look to some guy to whip out a weapon to defend my honor. I don’t know, just seems like the punishment should fit the crime. And, if I can’t handle myself in public, then maybe I should stay home…can I realistically expect the world to conform to my standard of behavior?

  15. Azrael says:

    I’m glad this guy is going to jail what he did was wrong and he’s a disgrace of a police officer. However two things and I know these will get me yelled at on here but I feel they need to be said.

    First a small thing: while I said this cop is a disgrace of a police officer, I can’t help but think the victim was also a disgrace of a marine. Grabing a ladies butt without her consent falls way short of the Honor and Integrity the marines are supposed to have. Still no excuse to shoot and kill him.

    Second: “she and her daughter-in-law have already filed a multi-million dollar lawsuit in this case against the officer and the city”. Okay against the officer I understand but against the city? This makes you out to be nothing but money grubbing greedy people. He was OFF DUTY! and even your testimony said he never identified himself as a police officer. You can’t have your cake and eat it to. Either he IDed himself and was acting as an officer of the city or he didn’t as you say in which case he’s a private person and you can’t reasonably hold the city responcible.

  16. MattGMD says:

    One could infer that the judge is allowing innebriation as a mitigating factor to support the charge of manslaughter. Alcohol is as much an aggravating factor in a homicide by firearm as it is in homicide by motor vehicle. My guess is a downward departure from the sentencing guidelines as well, probably less than eight (8) years.

  17. DaveNYUSA says:

    At least he will get what is coming to him in prison!

  18. mia says:

    .I am so saddened my some of the racist comments post. A man was killed . Justice must be done. It is very apparent that black men are all ways judged differently then white .Two Young men one black one white commit the same crime . black men will always get more time then a white man . It only take a Small petty crime to sent a black teen to jail or be put on probation, while the white kid will gets defend justification, in other word a clean record. It sends the black teen into a life time struggle to overcome a stupid decision that was made at a young age. How is this helpful to socienty?Unable to find jobs because of they’re record they mite go on to commit more crime. If you can’t work and earn a living you can’t be a productive member of society. If you think that police officer look a blacks and whites the same , your wrong. I work with a young black man that has done everything right in his life.He has a collage degree with a master in engineering. He drives a very expensive car, lives in a community that is considered predominate white. This young man gets stopped at list once a week and question, who’s car? Why are you in this neighborhood ? You must sell drugs to afford a car like this. Its not fair that for no other reason then your skin color you are told to exit your car at gun point.
    My neighbors who are black, have a kid that is 10 years old .He was riding his bike in the neighborhood with his friend a police officer hit him with his car and pointed a gun to his head. This officer, who was black logic was that this kid was riding his bike to fast. He most be running away from a crime. So it makes it ok to nock him of his bike and point a gun to his Head. . There are more good cop then bad. One bad officer is one to many.

    1. Hiddldy-ha-ha says:

      A few months ago, some ignorant fool walked up to a group of guys and assumed that they were a group of people of they type he didn’t like…and violently so…he stabbed 2 of them (one, a family man, the other a good and decent person with a small business). The man who stabbed the two is now suing the two guys he stabbed…and it’s a good possibility that he’ll win, for one reason. His skin. Now, you tell me what color the players in this little scene are…and by the way, this is absolutely true.

  19. Censored BS says:

    Jeez! could you two keep it down, it’s hard to read when you’re yelling!

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