Family of 13-year-old killed in Cleveland police chase files lawsuit

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CLEVELAND – The family of 13-year-old Tamia Chappman is taking legal action against Cleveland police.

The girl was killed in December of 2019 following a police chase and crash.

The incident started with a carjacking on Cleveland’s west side on Dec. 20.

Investigators said Cleveland police officers chased the suspects on Interstate 90 before the stolen car crashed on Euclid Avenue in East Cleveland. Chappman was walking on the sidewalk when she was hit. Two 15-year-old suspects were arrested.

“Tamia Chappman was an innocent little girl who did not deserve to die,” said Stanley Jackson, supervising attorney for the Cochran Law Firm and one of the attorneys on the case.

Tamia’s aunt said the family is devastated.

“She had a bright future ahead of her,” Eileen Cunningham said. The family noted Tamia was walking to a Toys for Tots event at the East Cleveland Public Library when she was struck and killed.

The family filed a lawsuit Wednesday in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court, naming several Cleveland police officers as defendants.

The other attorney on the case from the Cochran Law Firm, Shean Williams, said the chase was not necessary.

“Stop the chase when it’s not reasonable. Stop the chase when the risk to others and innocent bystanders is too high,” Williams said.

Cleveland Police Union President Jeff Follmer says he believes the officers involved in the chase acted properly.

Cleveland police officials declined to comment on the lawsuit but said the department is continuing an internal review of the matter.

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