Family honors 13-year-old Tamia Chappman on anniversary of tragic death in Cleveland police chase

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CLEVELAND (WJW) — It has been one year since a 13-year old girl was killed at the end of a deadly police chase that ended in a crash. Her family is celebrating her life, as they continue to call on the officers involved to be punished.

“We miss my daughter very much,” said Sherrie Chappman, the teenager’s mother.

Sherrie Chappman says support from her family has helped her cope with the grief she has felt for the past year. Dec. 20, 2019, her 13-year-old daughter Tamia Chappman was killed when a Cleveland police pursuit ended tragically in East Cleveland.

“I just want the police to stop chasing, stop the chase and get to the bottom of this and figure out what happened to her,” Chappman said.

Last year, Cleveland police were investigating a west side carjacking, and pursued the stolen vehicle across town and into East Cleveland. Tamia, known as Mimi to her family, was standing on the sidewalk on Euclid Avenue, when the stolen vehicle jumped the curb, hitting and killing her.

“At 2:30, 3, you know, kids are coming home from school and you’re chasing on a main road,” said family attorney Stanley Jackson, during a virtual news briefing, marking the somber anniversary.

Jackson says a year later, they want the officers and supervisors connected to the chase to be punished.

Two 15-year old boys were charged, the passenger plead guilty to involuntary manslaughter and was sentenced in juvenile court to four years behind bars.

The alleged driver plead not guilty.

In May, Tamia’s family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the police department, accusing officers of ignoring the risk the chase posed to public safety.

“You made the determination that that vehicle, that replaceable property was more important than this irreplaceable life,” Jackson said.

“It’s tragic, but these guys did some awful crimes on the west side and well, when you look at it, these are…the bad guys are the ones who caused this accident and some of these people need to be apprehended and put away in jail,” said Jeff Follmer, president of the Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association.

Follmer says officers and supervisors followed policies and procedures.

“We gotta apprehend some of these people, just to make sure everybody else is safe,” he added.

“They talk about, well, we aren’t the ones that caused the accident … people don’t run, unless they’re being chased,” Jackson said.

According to the family attorney, the city of Cleveland’s Office of Professional Standards has completed its investigation into the case. Jackson says the findings could be presented to a citizens review board in the next couple of months.

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