By Brande Victorian
March 7, 2012
Two adolescent boys have already been charged with the death of Monae Turnage, a 13-year-old girl who, according to police, was killed by one of her classmates Saturday night while they played with a rifle inside a home in East Baltimore. But now that the .22 caliber rifle believed to have been used in the shooting has been found inside the vehicle of an off-duty police officer, investigators are starting to believe the boys didn’t act alone, and Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said she is disgusted:
“As a mother, it’s hard for me to describe what a tragedy this is,” she said, speaking after the weekly Board of Estimates meeting. “It’s a tragedy made worse by allegations of police involvement. The thought of it is quite frankly disgusting.
“I require more from our officers. They have the public’s trust at hand in everything they do,” she added. “It’s important for everyone to know that I expect our officers to perform their duties and in accordance with the law at all times.”
The unidentified officer was suspended Monday following the discovery of the weapon, but the victim’s mother and aunt are calling for his termination, saying they are outraged at the thought of possible police involvement with the young girl’s death. Meanwhile, two boys, ages 12 and 13, have already been charged as juveniles with involuntary manslaughter after they accidentally shot Monae in the chest, then dragged her body into an alley in the Darley Park neighborhood and covered it with trash bags. The family spent all day Sunday searching for Monae when she didn’t return from her neighbor’s the night before, and they argue that if the police would have taken their call more seriously, she could have been found sooner.
Monae’s body wasn’t found until around 6 pm that evening by her 16-year-old brother. Police then questioned the young boys and charged them the next morning. In light of this new news, relatives said they knew that one of the suspect’s relatives was involved with a city police officer, which could provide the connection for the officer’s involvement. Whatever the circumstances may be, Grayling Williams, a former Homeland Security official brought in this year to revamp the Police Department’s internal disciplinary investigations, promised to get to the bottom of the case. At a community meeting last night he told the crowd:
“I want to stress to you my commitment to looking at police misconduct and police corruption.”
Hopefully he keeps his word.