Family of officer killed in friendly fire call for new investigation
By By Ian Duncan and The Baltimore Sun
Jan 09, 2013 at 6:05 PM
Two years to the day after Baltimore police officer William H. Torbit Jr. was shot by fellow members of the department, members of his family staged small demonstrations in front of city buildings and called on officials to take a fresh look at the case.
"There was no outside investigation," said Torbit's sister Venus Torbit. "We want the community to have the facts."
Family members held placards with Torbit's picture and gathered in small groups outside City Hall and police headquarters Wednesday. Passersby offered the occasional word of encouragement.
Torbit was one of 30 officers who responded to control a crowd outside the Select Lounge in downtown Baltimore the night he was killed. He was not wearing uniform and was shot by fellow officers after he himself opened fire on patron Sean Gamble, killing him.
Torbit's death prompted a inquiry by a city panel, which recommended better training in the wake of the incident, but state's attorney Gregg L. Bernstein found no grounds to pursue prosecutions. His spokesman Mark Cheshire said Wednesday that the investigation was "complete and thorough" and that the decision not to bring charges still stands.
Despite the case being officially closed, members of Torbit's family remain dissatisfied and said Wednesday that they want to see individuals held accountable for what happened.
Police Commissioner Anthony W. Batts introduced himself to the family members Wednesday, department spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said, and said they should feel free to contact him in future.
Tiffany Clark, another of Torbit's sisters, said she hopes that coming from outside the department Batts will bring a new perspective to the case.
"I believe there's an open opportunity and he might see things that others aren't willing to see," she said.