The cause of a woman's collapse in a Baltimore police station this weekend — an incident that has led to the suspension of a police lieutenant pending an internal investigation — remained unclear Wednesday, according to her family.
The cause of a woman's collapse in a Baltimore police station over the weekend — an incident that led to the suspension of a police lieutenant pending an internal investigation — remained unclear Wednesday, according to her family.
Mable Coates said her daughter, Kim Doreen Chase, 52, remained in critical condition at St. Agnes Hospital, and doctors had yet to determine what was wrong with her.
"That's why they are testing," Coates said. "It takes time, that's all."
Coates said her family has many questions about what happened to Chase and is "just hoping and praying" that answers come. She did not blame police, she said.
Coates said because her daughter's medical condition was so unclear, there was little she could add — and little police could say, either.
The case first gained attention Monday when Police Commissioner Kevin Davis announced the internal investigation, the suspension of the lieutenant and the placement of two patrol officers on administrative duty. Police have not publicly identified the lieutenant or the two officers. Davis spoke again about the case Wednesday.
Police did not identify Chase by name. Davis said police could not discuss her medical condition and did not have results of toxicology tests as of Wednesday.
Chase was stopped in the 100 block of S. Calverton Road, not far from her mother's home, about 10:45 a.m. Sunday by officers serving an open warrant for her arrest from Calvert County, according to police. Drug paraphernalia was found on her, police said.
Chase was then taken to her mother's home in the 2100 block of Hillen St., where Davis said she was allowed to retrieve personal items. He said that was normal. She was also allowed to have her hair braided by a family member, which was not normal, Davis said Wednesday.
At 1:30 p.m., she was found unconscious in a Southwestern District police station holding cell.
Davis said that based on footage from officer body cameras and cameras in the transport van in which Chase was taken to the district station — technology added after 25-year-old Freddie Gray suffered fatal neck injuries in police custody two years ago — police believe there was "absolutely no use of force whatsoever" by officers before Chase's collapse.
Still, he said, he had questions.
"There was no use of force in this case, but 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," Davis said.
One of the questions Davis said he had was why the officers had allowed Chase to return to her home after her arrest but before her transport to the police station.
Davis said Wednesday that it was "perhaps an act of humanism" by an officer who was familiar with Chase. Was that "the wisest thing to do? I don't know," he said.
He said officers have a responsibility to maintain "strict care and custody" of people they are arresting. He said he believed officers were observing Chase the entire time they were at her mother's home.
Court records show that Chase had two open warrants from Calvert County related to drug charges — 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. He did not immediately respond to a request for more information Wednesday.
Alexandria Chun, who is listed as Chase's attorney in online court, declined to comment.
Dwayne Chase, who said he is Kim Chase's brother-in-law, said Tuesday that he was in the area Sunday when police arrested Chase. He said he found it strange police allowed Chase to return home to have her hair plaited. He also said she seemed in normal health at the time and called the circumstances of her collapse "mysterious."
Jacqueline Robarge is the founder and director of the organization Power Inside, which provides support to women "impacted by incarceration, street life and abuse."
Robarge said she wants to know whether police have protocols for assessing the medical status of detainees they decide to put in holding cells at police stations rather than transport to Central Booking, where such protocols exist. She said she wanted to see the body camera and van footage from Chase's detention, and to know if there was any video taken at the station. She said she wants the names of the lieutenant and officers involved. And she said she is concerned that vulnerable women are being coerced into becoming informants for the police as part of arrangements that are "completely off the books."
"We are not given comfort by being told this 'cordial' interaction occurred on the street without knowing what happened in the station," Robarge said of Chase's arrest. Deputy Commissioner Jason Johnson characterized the arrest as "cordial" this week.
Davis said he is considering the release of body camera and van footage. Smith said he did not know if there is footage from inside the station, but that officers did a visual assessment of Chase and there "were no overt indicators at the time of arrest that there was a serious medical situation evolving."