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Cleveland Police Chief says deadly police pursuit followed policy

East Cleveland teen killed last December
Tamia Chappman
Posted at 5:31 PM, Dec 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-03 19:38:29-05

CLEVELAND, OH — Nearly a year after a 13-year-old East Cleveland girl was hit and killed by an SUV being pursued by police, Cleveland's police chief said Thursday that the chase did not violate the department's policy.

Investigators said they pursued a stolen SUV for nearly 20 miles after an off-duty police officer reported an armed carjacking in the parking lot of the Target store on West 117th Street on December 20, 2019.

Near the intersection of Euclid Avenue and Lakeshore Boulevard in East Cleveland, police say the stolen SUV crashed into another car, drove up onto the sidewalk, and struck Tamia Chappman killing the teen.

"The officers pursued that vehicle in relation to our policy," said Cleveland Police Calvin Williams. "A violent felony had happened and the officers involved did what they had to do to try to stop the violent, fleeing felon."

Williams said the average speed of officers during the pursuit on Euclid Avenue in East Cleveland was nearly 67 miles an hour.

The speed limit on that stretch of road is 35 miles an hour.

Chappman's family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the officers involved in the pursuit claiming they violated state law requiring police to use due regard for safety.

The attorneys also accused Cleveland police of valuing a stolen car over Chappman's life.

5 On Your Side Investigators asked Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson about that claim Thursday.

"I cannot argue with how a parent, a mother or father feels by the loss of their child," said Jackson who offered his condolences to Chappman's family.

Williams said his review did find what he called minor allegations of things officers did not do correctly during the pursuit, but would not elaborate because the officers have not been formally charged with any wrongdoing by the department at this point.