BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The Baltimore County State’s Attorney’s Office won’t prosecute two police officers involved in separate citizen fatalities last October, according to letters acquired by WJZ. Prosecutors also questioned state investigators after waiting for reports on the deaths for months.
The Independent Investigations Division of the Attorney General’s Office is tasked with investigating all citizen deaths involving police. The IID compiled reports based on their findings in the October deaths of Jawuan Ginyard, who died in a crash during a police pursuit, and Jovan Singleton, who was shot by an officer.READ MORE: Teen, Man Injured In East Baltimore Shooting
Those reports were provided to the Baltimore County State’s Attorney’s Office in March.
Deputy State’s Attorney Robin Coffin said in separate declination letters to the Attorney General’s Office that there is “no basis for criminal charges” in each incident.
Ginyard, 26, died on Oct. 9 after losing control of his car on an exit ramp in Baltimore County and being ejected from the vehicle. Maryland Transportation Authority police officer Theodore Jeremenko was pursuing Ginyard thinking the driver was impaired, according to the Attorney General’s office.
“…Officer Jermenko was nowhere near Mr. Ginyard when Mr. Ginyard lost control of his vehicle, which caused his death,” Coffin said in a March 31 letter addressed to Attorney General Brian Frosh and Colonel Kevin Anderson of the Maryland Transportation Authority.
Jovan Singleton, 36, died on October 11 after he was shot by Baltimore County Police Lt. Mead. The officer opened fire during a foot pursuit after the robbery suspect turned around and fired two shots in Meade’s direction, Frosh’s office said.
“…it is the State’s position that the shooting of Jovan Singleton was justified for the protection of Lt. Mead’s life and the surrounding community,” Coffin said in an April 7 letter addressed to Frosh and Baltimore County Police Chief Melissa Hyatt.
In both letters, Coffin raised complaints about “undue delay” by the IID in providing the results of its investigations to the State’s Attorney’s Office, saying he was “distressed” by the time it took to conclude the investigations.READ MORE: Neighbors Demand Action On Baltimore’s Persistent Violent Crime As Mayor, Council Talk Strategy
In Ginyard’s case, Coffin said, the dashcam video “practically on its own removed any possibility of criminal liability,” and the autopsy was signed in December.
Coffin said the report on Singleton’s death had “all of the information” that was provided to him when he was briefed on the investigation last December. He said Singleton’s autopsy was completed last November.
“The stress and uncertainty for all persons involved cannot be overstated,” Coffin said in part. “Undue delay, also, unquestionably does not serve the public.”
In a reply sent by the Attorney General’s office on April 14, Frosh said Coffin’s letters make “significant factual errors.” Frosh said his office didn’t recieve Ginyard’s autopsy report until February 7, and didn’t get Singleton’s autopsy report until February 1.
In Singleton’s case, Frosh said, the information from Coffin’s December briefing did not include the same information as the final report because there was no autopsy report.
“…when the IID briefed you on this investigation in December 2021, we all discussed the lack of an autopsy report, and you agreed to contact the (Office of the Chief Medical Examiner) in hopes of expediting the process,” Frosh said.
Frosh concluded his letter by saying that while quick investigations are “an important component of serving the public in these cases,” his office won’t “sacrifice the imperative of a thorough and impartial investigation.”MORE NEWS: How To Avoid Heat-Related Illness This Blistering Weekend
The IID was formed in response to several police reform bills passed by the Maryland General Assembly last year. The deaths of Ginyard and Singleton in Baltimore County were the first two police-involved deaths the division investigated.