The family of a Baltimore man who died following a struggle with police officers during a traffic stop last month has created a petition on Change.org asking for the United States Department of Justice to intervene in the investigation into his death.
The petition asks for Governor Martin O’Malley, the Maryland General Assembly and Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake to allow an outside source, the United State Department of Justice, to investigate the death of Tyrone West.
West, 44, died July 18 following a struggle with eight Baltimore police and a Morgan State police officer after a traffic stop in the 1300 block of Kitmore Rd. All of the Baltimore police officers have been placed on administrative leave.
West’s cousin, Neil Norris, 39, has become the spokesperson for the family since West’s death. He said the petition isn’t just a push to find justice for his cousin, but for fair investigations nationwide.
“We’re trying to bring light to the situation,” said Norris. “This is a systemic issue and if we don’t do anything this will continue to happen.”
He said the family is pushing for 10,000 signatures for the petition.
“People need to understand what’s happening,” said Norris. “We’ve been dehumanizing the killings of young Black faces.”
Norris said he hopes the petition will also help to push the investigation along faster. He said his family was disheartened to have buried West with no cause of death on his death certificate.
According to police, West’s cause of death is still not available, said Det. Angela Cater Watson, spokesperson for the police department. She said the investigation is still underway
More than 100 supporters from across the United States have signed the petition.
One signer of the petition, Robert Laboiteaux, of New Market, Md., wrote “Just think an investigation is worthwhile. Not insinuating any blame on any party.”
Another, Michael McArthur of Vorhees, N.J., wrote that any situation with police officers where excessive force is questioned should be investigated. “We deserve to go through the proper process to find the truth and get justice,” he wrote.
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