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$25M lawsuit sites BPD illegal stop as reason for 86-year-old man's death

Slain Homicide Detective Sean Suiter also named
Posted at 5:30 PM, Aug 03, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-03 17:38:05-04

The family of Elbert Davis Sr., an 86-year-old man killed during a police chase by now famed former Gun Trace Task Force member, filed a lawsuit against police for $25-million on Friday. 

The family says former Gun Trace Task Force member, Sergeant Wayne Jenkins, was conducting an illegal car stop back in 2010 which resulted in a chase, ending in the death of the beloved father of 10.

RELATED: Feds unseal case in which slain Detective Sean Suiter was to testify

“The Davis family is the ultimate victim of this terrible story and they deserve justice," attorney John Solter of Towson firm Azrael, Franz, Schwab, and Lipowitz said. They believe that the officers who were on the scene were so busy planting drugs in the other suspect's car that they did not call an ambulance in time to save Davis' life. 

The lawsuit names the city of Baltimore, Baltimore Police, Mayor Catherine Pugh, along with Officers Jenkins, Guinn and the estate of slain Homicide Detective Sean Suiter. The officers were all part of a special enforcement section at the time of the stop.

During a news conference on Friday, the attorney's said that they believe the evidence will show that slain detective Sean Suiter was an active participant in the Gun Trace Task Force style 'door pops' that led to the specific case that killed Davis. While this was before the Gun Trace Task Force was created, they continued to say they believe the police department was well aware of these types of stops going on, but they turned a blind eye so they could get more guns and drugs off of the streets. 

In addition to the family's attorneys speaking, Shirley Johnson, Elbert's daughter, also made an emotional plea. She talked about how her father was a wonderful person and how his death robbed them of the good times they could have shared. Because it took so long for the family to find out Davis' death could have been prevented, Johnson continued to talk about the desire for justice. 

"The lie went on for so long, it was over seven years before we really found out what happened to my dad. It angers me, it angers me a lot. Every time I speak about it I get angry again because it shouldn’t have happened. My father would still be here today if it wasn’t for their actions.”

Attorneys with Azrael, Franz, Schwab, and Lipowitz said this case is different than other cases they have covered related to former Gun Trace Task Force members because instead of their clients being deprived of their freedom, this client was deprived of his life. 

This new lawsuit is born out of a previous indictment brought by federal prosecutors against former Sergeant Wayne Jenkins. This was the case in which Sean Suiter was scheduled to testify to a grand jury the day after police say he was murdered with his own service weapon in November 2017.

The court has since vacated the 2011 convictions of Umar Burley and Brent Matthews, the two men Jenkins arrested in 2010 for drug possession after planting drugs in their car at the crash scene. Lawyers for the Davis family say there is a chance both suits are joined before Judge Richard Bennett in federal court.