The Baltimore police detective who was fatally shot in the line
of duty last week was scheduled to testify in a federal case
against officers indicted earlier this year, the Baltimore
Police Department confirmed Wednesday.
The day after he died, Homicide Det. Sean Suiter, 43, was set
to testify before a federal grand jury about an incident that
occurred years ago involving BPD officers, Police Commissioner
Kevin Davis said during a newsso conference.
The officers were indicted in March and
August on federal racketeering charges.
Davis also revealed that investigators believe Suiter had been
killed with his own weapon, adding that there were signs of a
struggle between Suiter, an 18-year veteran of the BPD, and his
killer, who remains at large.
At Wednesday’s news conference, Davis attempted to dispel any
rumors that Suiter’s pending testimony was related to his
Suiter was not a target of the ongoing federal investigation of
the eight officers, members of Baltimore’s elite Gun Trace Task
Force, according to police.
“The BPD and the FBI do not possess any information that this
incident … is part of any conspiracy,” Davis
said, explaining that the fatal
confrontation “appears to be nothing more than a
spontaneous observation of a man behaving suspiciously and a
spontaneous decision to investigate his conduct.”
Suiter, a father of five, was shot in the head on
Nov. 15 after noticing a man acting suspiciously while he
and his partner were investigating a 2016 triple homicide. He
died one day later.
During that day’s investigation efforts, both Suiter and his
partner had noticed the suspicious man in a vacant lot and
approached him, Davis said Wednesday, citing surveillance
camera footage reviewed by investigators.
“Upon the sound of gunfire, Detective Suiter’s partner sought
cover across the street,” Davis explained. “He immediately
called 911. We know this, because it is captured on private
surveillance video that we have recovered.”
According to police, the ongoing investigation revealed that
Suiter was shot within close range and was still holding his
radio in his left hand.
Davis also confirmed that Suiter’s death remains an open
homicide investigation and confirmed that police don’t have a
suspect in custody a week after the shooting.
Asked about the conspiracy theories surrounding Suiter’s
killing, Davis said, “It certainly makes for great theater.”
“We have a police officer who’s shot and killed, and we don’t
have a good description and we don’t have someone in custody
and ― lo and behold ― we find out after the fact that he was
scheduled to testify in front of a federal jury.”
Still, Davis added, “there’s no evidence whatsoever that
Suiter’s death was related to his testimony.”
Many people remain suspicious of the timing of Suiter’s death,
including Intercept columnist and prominent civil rights
activist Shaun King.
This is dirty.
Baltimore Police Officer who was just murdered was
scheduled to testify AGAINST other corrupt cops on the
I believe they had this man killed. https://t.co/hYTg2VtV1L
— Shaun King (@ShaunKing)
November 23, 2017
The Baltimore Police Department has been under public scrutiny
after the Justice Department released a damning report last
year that revealed the department had routinely abused
Baltimore residents’ civil rights, including
unconstitutional stops, frisks and arrests, using excessive
force and taking a lax approach to sexual assault cases.
In April, a federal judge approved a
deal made during the Obama administration between the
city and the Justice Department to reform the troubled police
department. The Trump
administration had requested a delay on the approval
of that deal, but it was rejected.
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