Prosecuters in Baltimore cleared 13 police officers in a fatal shooting last year, where 147 rounds were fired at a man who they claimed pointed a weapon at police two days after firing at an officer.
“When all available evidence is considered, the Involved Officers” actions did not rise to the level of criminal conduct,” prosecutors wrote in a 38-page report posted online in recent months but which went unnoticed until this week. “The Baltimore City State’s Attorney, therefore, declines to pursue criminal charges in this matter.”
Prosecutors had not said when they cleared the officers. Still, Baltimore Police said the case was declined for prosecution on March 13 and that an internal investigation and training review was continuing.
Police identified them as Sgt. Paul Sinchak and officers Carlos Arias, Breanna Beebe, Demetri Bezzek, Timothy Bowen, Robert Crane, Ralph Dilucci, Cody Duchame, Mark Keenan, Jeffery Lybarger, Ryan Messimer, Paulo Pereia, and Jason Van Helton.
“The case will go to the performance review board to review the actions and make any recommendations to the department,” said Lindsey Eldridge, the police department’s chief spokesperson.
Last year, Police Commissioner Michael Harrison praised the officers for courage and bravery. Harrison also said they had exercised caution before the shooting, knowing Banks” history. Court records show Banks had previously led officers on a 100 mph chase through four districts in 2015 and rammed a police car.
The prosecutors” report does not name the woman who was struck, and it is not an official report, but one created for public consumption.
The prosecutors” report says two officers were tending to a citizen on an unrelated call when they saw a silver Toyota Rav 4 wanted in connection with the previous day’s incidents.
“That Toyota right there, turn around,” an officer said, according to prosecutors’ summary of body camera footage.
A third officer pulled behind Banks” vehicle, and an officer from the helicopter unit can be heard saying, “He’s’s stopped. He’s’s pointing. He’s’s getting out of the car.” The officer fired through the front windshield of his police vehicle.
He re-entered the vehicle and headed south on Caroline Street, and officers opened fire as he passed through the intersection. The third officer struck Banks” vehicle from the rear, causing him to hit a tree.
Prosecutors say that while seated in the driver’s side position, Foxtrot helicopter camera shows Banks “extending his arm outward, turning towards police officers and pointing a pistol. The Involved Citizen’s arm jerks upward approximately 4-7 times.”
The prosecutors” analysis of the evidence found one officer fired 25 shots; another fired 21. Others fired between 2 and 14. Police issue Glock 22 has a magazine capacity of 14 rounds.
Banks” weapon was a Luger 9 mm, and prosecutors said it had five rounds in the magazine, and one “stove-piped” cartridge jammed in the chamber, rendering it inoperable. They said no spent rounds from Banks” guns were found on the scene.
They said at the prior day shooting scene, a 9 mm casing was found on the scene.
Banks had been found “not criminally responsible” in the 2010 assault case. Prosecutors in their report of last year’s shooting say that Banks” girlfriend, who is not identified by name, was interviewed by police and said that Banks “may have been attempting to commit suicide by cop.”