Woman who collapsed in Baltimore police custody dies; investigation continues

A woman who collapsed in a holding cell at a Baltimore police station this month — leading to the suspension of a police lieutenant pending the conclusion of an investigation into her arrest — has died, according to police.

Kim Doreen Chase, 52, was pronounced dead Thursday morning at Saint Agnes Hospital, police said. She collapsed April 9 after being arrested near her mother's home in Southwest Baltimore by city police officers on an open warrant out of Calvert County.

Police said an autopsy will determine the "exact cause and manner" of Chase's death, but that there was no inappropriate force used during her arrest.

Chase's mother, Mable Coates, declined to comment about her daughter's death when reached by phone Thursday afternoon.

Coates said in a previous interview that she didn't know what was ailing her daughter, but that she did not blame police for her collapse. Other family members have expressed concerns — saying Chase appeared in fine health when she was taken away by the police.

Police Commissioner Kevin Davis has said he has his own questions about Chase's arrest. He said the lieutenant and two patrol officers who arrested her allowed her to return to her mother's house and have her hair braided before taking her to the police station.

He said that might have been "an act of humanism" on the officers' part, but that he wasn't sure it was "the wisest thing to do."

Davis said footage from officers' body cameras and cameras in the van in which Chase was transported to the station — technology added after 25-year-old Freddie Gray suffered fatal neck injuries in police custody two years ago — had led him to believe there was "absolutely no use of force whatsoever" by officers before Chase's collapse.

Still, he said, "just because there was no use of force doesn't mean that I don't have other questions about the entire incident, from A to Z."

Police said drug paraphernalia was found on Chase during her arrest. Toxicology results have not been made public.

Police have not publicly identified the lieutenant, who was suspended with pay, or the two officers, who have been placed on administrative duty with pay.

Chase had two open warrants from Calvert County related to drug charges, according to court records, including a charge associated with bringing drugs into a place of confinement, such as a jail. Capt. David Payne, a spokesman for the Calvert County sheriff's office, confirmed it had sent those warrants to Baltimore police for service because Chase had a Baltimore address listed in court records.

The police department's Special Investigations Response Team is investigating Chase's arrest and collapse, police said.

krector@baltsun.com

twitter.com/rectorsun

Copyright © 2017, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad
48°