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Crime

Baltimore officers are cleared of criminal charges in fatal shooting near Power Plant Live! last year

The Baltimore State’s Attorney’s Office has cleared three city police officers of possible criminal charges stemming from the fatal shooting of an armed man near Power Point Live! last year.

The officers had “sufficient probable cause to believe their lives were in imminent threat of serious harm or death,” according to the 12-page declination letter for the Feb. 25, 2021, shooting of 35-year-old Benjamin Tyson.

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The Baltimore Sun has been unable to reach Tyson’s family.

Police said previously that Tyson pulled out his gun, prompting the officers to fire, striking and killing him in the ramp of the Harbor Parking Garage in the 600 block of East Lombard Street downtown. Officers were pursuing Tyson because he was suspected of shooting and injuring a 23-year-old man the same evening.

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Police said previously that Tyson did not fire at the officers because investigators believe his gun jammed earlier in the evening.

The department identified the officers as Robert Brown, Robert Cucchiaro and Edgard Ayala-Lopez. All three officers were still members of the department in 2021, according to the latest city salary records.

Police were patrolling the area when a civilian flagged down the officers following the initial shooting and witnesses told police the suspect was fleeing on Pratt Street.

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Brown followed Tyson in his patrol vehicle to East Pratt Street, stopping his vehicle in front of Tyson, causing Tyson to fall to the ground. Brown then got out and chased Tyson, along with Cucchiaro and Ayala-Lopez, confronting him in the parking garage.

When the officers ordered Tyson to put his hands up, he pulled the handgun from his right coat pocket, police said.

The officers then fired 16 rounds.

Prosecutors said body camera footage showed the gun was “pointed forward in the direction” of one of the officers, the report said.

The state’s attorney’s office report disputed any possibility that Tyson was pulling his gun from his jacket to surrender.

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“A thorough review of the available video, with the benefit of frame-by-frame analysis, shows this theory to be unsupported by the evidence and, thereby, without merit,” the report says. Body-worn camera footage “shows that the [Tyson] ignored the seven demands to raise his hands. Instead of complying with orders to raise his hands, [Tyson] pulled out his gun from his coat pocket.”

The shooting was one of four fatal ones by the department in 2021.


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