BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A new lawsuit alleges members of the disgraced and now dismantled Baltimore Police Department Gun Trace Task Force were responsible for the death of a Baltimore man.
86-year-old Elbert Davis Sr. died after a car crash in Howard Park eight years ago.
The driver who hit his car was on the run from officers.
Davis’ family blames BPD, and specifically three officers with ties to the gun trace task force, including its longtime leader, Sgt. Wayne Jenkins.
His family is now asking for $25 million in a federal lawsuit.
The lawsuit says the officers ignored their dying father. Instead of helping him following a crash, they rushed to plant drugs in the car that they’d been chasing.
The Davis children remember their father as a husband and parent of 10.
In a federal lawsuit, they say he was also the victim of Baltimore PD and its corrupt, and now disbanded gun trace task force.
“They got out and went on this wild, high-speed chase throughout the city, until they ran into my father’s car,” Davis’ daughter, Shirley Johnson, said.
Johnson still gets angry talking about how her 86-year-old father died on an April afternoon back in 2010.
That’s when Davis and his wife pulled into the intersection at Belle and Gwynn Oak Ave. Where they did not see a high-speed police chase racing towards their car.
The lawsuit says longtime GTTF leader Wayne Jenkins, now deceased detective Sean Suiter, and BPD officer Ryan Guinn were after two men: Umar Burley and Brent Matthews.
An illegal chase that was started by an illegal traffic stop, that ended when the men drove into Davis’ car.
“They wasn’t concerned, so much, about getting help for my parents. They were busy trying to plant those drugs in the car,” Johnson added.
The suit says while Davis bled out – trapped in his seat belt – the cops were making their case by planting heroin in Burley’s car.
Burley later did prison time for the drugs and for vehicular manslaughter.
Both convictions were overturned earlier this year, as many GTTF members themselves were sentenced to federal prison time.
Those members were convicted of robbing, planting evidence, racketeering, falsifying records, extortion, and distributing drugs, among other crimes.
“It shouldn’t have happened, and my father would be here today if it wasn’t for their actions on that day,” Johnson said.
The lawsuit asks for $25 million, naming and also blaming BPD for what it calls a longstanding practice of illegal misconduct.
“The higher-ups turned a blind eye because they wanted to get guns and drugs off the street,” attorney John Solter Jr. said.
The two men who were in the car that hit Davis have also filed a lawsuit against the city, asking for $40 million in damages.
WJZ reached out to Baltimore police about the lawsuit. The department says it does not comment on pending litigation.