Feds Take Over Investigation into Death of Detective Following New Charges Against Baltimore Cops
By Jaisal Noor, Eze Jackson, and Baynard Woods
The Baltimore Police department has requested the FBI take over the investigation of the death of slain Detective Sean Suitor, according to Commissioner Kevin Davis.
In the Dec. 1 press conference, Davis read his letter to FBI director Christopher Wray. “I am growing increasingly uncomfortable that my homicide detectives do not know all of the facts known to the FBI and the USAO that could, if revealed to us, assist in furthering this murder investigation,” he said.
A growing number of Baltimore leaders, including Congressmen Elijah Cummings, have called on the BPD to hand over the investigation to federal authorities. Davis said he waited until after Suiter’s funeral to make the call.
Davis also said he has no reason to believe Suiter’s death was related to his pending testimony on Federal Grand Jury Jury regarding the Baltimore Police Department’s Gun Trace Task Force who have been indicted on federal racketeering charges.
But the announcement comes only one day after new federal charges filed Thursday against one of the eight indicted members of the Gun Trace Task Force, federal prosecutors claimed that Jenkins and another officer planted drugs in the car of Umar Burley, after initiating a chase that led to a fatal collision.
Suitor was scheduled to testify in the case the day after his death. “The circumstances surrounding Detective Suiter’s killing are significantly complicated by the fact that he was to appear before a federal grand jury the following day,” Davis wrote.
“There were no drugs in the car driven by U.B. prior to the crash,” the federal indictment reads. After the crash, Jenkins told Officer #2, whom we have identified as Det. Guinn, to “call a Sergeant who was not at the scene because he had the ‘stuff’ or ‘shit’ in his car.”
The sergeant arrived on the scene and Guinn spoke to him before turning “his attention to the elderly driver who remained trapped inside his car on the front porch of the row house.”
This means that the officer took care of tainting the crime scene before caring for the man in the car, who later died. The sergeant—who allegedly had an ounce of heroin in his car—has not been identified.
After medics arrived on the scene, Jenkins told Guinn that “the ‘stuff’ or ‘shit’ was in the car,” and said he was going to send Officer #1 to the car to find it because he was “clueless.”
Officer #1 was identified by police as Det. Sean Suiter, who was murdered in the Harlem Park neighborhood of Baltimore on Nov. 15—a crime that led to a three-day lockdown that has been criticized by the ACLU.
“There were criminal acts committed by Police Officers 7-8 years ago, that we are still having to deal with on the eve of 2018,” Davis said in the press conference, adding that there “hasn’t been the breaking piece of evidence” in the case.
The clerk at a corner store with cameras that captured part of the crime scene told the Real News that he gave his footage to the BPD but that when he called to ask what had happened to it, they told him that the ATF now had it.
“We have the footage,” BPD spokesperson T.J. Smith said at the time. That attitude had changed by Friday.
“Any comments on this case going forward will come from the FBI,” he said.