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Murder Charges Filed Against Baltimore Police Officer - Wrongful Death Suit Next?

This Monday, a judge ordered that Baltimore police officer Gahiji A. Tshamba be held without bond. The 16-year veteran of the force is facing first degree murder charges following the fatal shooting of Tyrone Brown outside a nightclub earlier this month. There has been no word of a wrongful death lawsuit yet, but cases like this often see such a development.

Murder charges are brought in criminal court, while wrongful death lawsuits are filed in civil court.

The murder charges in this case stem from an altercation on June 5, in which 32-year-old Tyrone Brown is alleged to have groped the genital area of a woman who was at the club with Tshamba. Off-duty at the time, the officer responded by pulling his gun on Brown. Eyewitness testimony differs on what was said and the threat posed by Brown, but two concrete facts stand out.

Brown was unarmed and Tshamba fired 13 rounds, 12 of which hit Brown.

The defense has claimed that Tshamba responded to a sexual assault and that Brown posed a definite threat to the officer and the woman involved. In fact, most of argument for Tshambe's decision to fire centers on the whether or not that threat existed, as Brown's actions seem to have stopped after groping the woman.

Even with the inherent questions that come with eyewitness accounts, those that are available do not go very far in justifying Officer Tshamba's actions. Most agree that Brown had his hands in the air when Tshamba started shooting. For all intents and purposes, the threat seemed to be gone.

A trial date has yet to be decided on.

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