BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The mother of Darius Gore is suing Baltimore City Police after her son was struck while police were chasing a suspect in an alleged stolen vehicle last spring. He died less than a month later.
Attorneys on behalf of Gore’s mother, Rowena Simmons, filed the suit Tuesday in U.S. District Court. The passenger in Gore’s car, Gary Tyson, is also listed as a plaintiff. Baltimore City Police Department, Officer Felix Torres, Officer Johnta Gray, and Officer Zachary Franks were named as defendants in the lawsuit.READ MORE: Woman, 2 Men Injured In West Baltimore Triple Shooting
“We are following suit today to prevent the kind of car chases that cause crime to be killed and to end the reckless car chases that have become a habitual part of Baltimore City,” said attorney Billy Murphy during a press conference Tuesday. “We seek significant damages to redress not only our clients, injury, but to make sure that these kinds of chases are ended once and for all.
Gore was struck on the evening of March 21, 2020 while police were allegedly engaged in a high-speed chase through northwest Baltimore. The chase began in the 2600 block of W. Patapsco in the city’s Cherry Hill neighborhood and ended in the Ashburton area.
The 11-mile long police chase lasted nearly seven minutes. The attorneys alleged police were going over the speed limit by 20 to 30 miles per hour at times. The chase went through several intersections, residential areas and narrow streets, the attorneys said. Multiple stop signs were blown.
“It used to be that the police were restricted in the speeds they could utilize throughout neighborhoods,” Murphy continued. “But that speed limit has been eliminated and so now, police officers can chase people throughout the city, at any speed, they wish, so long as they can defend it later.”
While police chased the woman driving the allegedly stolen car, which was also being followed by a police helicopter, the suspect car t-boned Gore’s car, causing it to spin and strike another car.
Tyson, Gore’s passenger, broke his left leg and two ribs. Gore’s neck was broken and he suffered an acute brain bleed. Gore was taken to an area hospital where he underwent surgery to remove a part of his skull, but remained in a coma until he died on April 17, 2020.
Attorneys for Simmons allege that the pursuit should never have started and that it should have immediately ended after it began. They also allege that Baltimore City Police violated department regulations when they began the “totally unnecessary” pursuit.
“The reckless actions of these officers led to the death of our client. They showed absolutely no regard for the citizens and neighborhoods they placed in harm’s way. We will get justice for Darius Gore,” said attorney Nikoletta Mendrinos.READ MORE: Baltimore Organizations Collaborate For 2nd Juneteenth Father's Day Bailout
Simmons said Darius was her oldest son, who was a “kind, loving, gentle soul, who would do anything for anyone.”
She said he was taking a friend to the store to get things to eat as it was the start of the COVID pandemic and shelves were going empty when the crash happened.
“Police have been chasing cars throughout our cities, since I was a child and it must end,” Simmons said. “How many lives have to end in order for the police to stop chasing unnecessary vehicles? I am outraged.”
“I can’t sleep at night. I stood up and I just cried trying to figure out why were they chasing a vehicle for 11 miles through the streets at eight o’clock at night,” Simmons added. “Everybody’s out. It was a blessing that nobody else got killed. But my son is dead.”
The stolen car had a GPS that was pinging its location, attorneys said, and they said the woman was being chased for a non-violent crime against property, which according to city police is not a basis to pursue.
“I will never have another opportunity to hug my son again because the Baltimore City Police decided a vehicle was worth more than his life,” Simmons said. “It’s time for the police to be held accountable for the devastation and suffering that they have caused my family and everyone else who loved Darius.”
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