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Wednesday, June 19, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Baltimore woman sues cops who shot her while barraging a suspect with gunfire

A bystander says her injuries were barely mentioned in a state's attorney's report of when Baltimore police made a fatal 2019 confrontation with an armed gunman who shot at their own.

BALTIMORE (CN) — The shooting of Tyrone Banks on Aug. 28, 2019, made headlines both for the more than 160 bullets that police fired at him and for the officer who took a bullet to his leg in the melee.

An investigation by the State’s Attorney determined police had committed no crimes. Last week, however, a dozen officers and one sergeant from the incident were sued by an injured bystander who was hardly mentioned in the state's attorney's review of the incident.

Represented by attorney Anton Iamele, Ray Maier claims that Baltimore police had “acted recklessly and with wanton disregard for the safety” of people in the area. Maier's complaint in Baltimore City Circuit Court is dated Aug. 26, but the court clerk did not provide public access to the file until Tuesday afternoon. Iamele did not return calls from Courthouse News.

“When the defendant officers unleashed the fusillade of projectiles at and in the vicinity of East Fayette Street and Caroline, they failed to account for members of the general public including but not limited to, Plaintiff Maier,” the complaint says.

Meier did not name the city itself as a defendant. Nevertheless a spokesman for Baltimore police said the department would probably not comment on the litigation. The chief spokesman did not return a request for comment.

Peter Moskos, a professor of criminal justice at John Jay College in New York who served as a Baltimore police officer two decades ago, was reluctant to second-guess the officers. Even so, he said in an email, “161 rounds is a lot of rounds to fire at a guy, even a bad guy with a gun, who didn't fire a single shot at the cops when those rounds were fired."

The incident reportedly started the day before with Banks firing a shot at a city cop, throwing a bottle and pointing a gun at a different cop. He was armed with a Lugar pistol, which was later found to be jammed.

On the night of Aug. 28, Maier was driving home from a family dinner at about 11 p.m. when she became boxed in by multiple squad cars chasing Banks in a silver Toyota Rav 4.

With the 50-year-old Maier stopped in her white Ford Focus at the intersection of Fayette and Caroline Street, police rammed Banks' vehicle, sending it careening into a tree on North Caroline Street.

After the smoke cleared, as police rendered aid to the dead suspect, Maier flagged down a paramedic.

“Responding paramedics observed that Plaintiff Maier had visible gunshot wounds to the upper right chest/shoulder, hand and left side of the neck,” the complaint says.

The suit quotes commissioner Harrison at the news conference following the event: “The number of officers firing, the number of rounds that were fired, becomes a concern for any chief, any executive because as I stated, we have to be accountable for where every one of our rounds ends up.”

Days later, Maier’s sister, Ghilda Fries, told a Baltimore Sun reporter that Maier was still in the hospital and badly wounded. “I just thought it was completely reckless. No logical reason at all for that shooting,” Fries said. “They blocked people in a war zone. My sister is really suffering for it.”

The family demanded an apology from the department. 

It was unclear at press time whether they ever got one.

Categories / Civil Rights, Government, Personal Injury

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