CLEVELAND (WJW)– Another lawsuit was filed against Cleveland police more than a year after 13-year-old Tamia Chappman was killed during a police pursuit.
Last May, Chappman’s family filed a wrongful death suit. Now, the mother of two children who were with the teen wants to hold officers responsible for their physical and psychological injuries.
“My children are suffering from grief survival and PTSD and they’re having issues with nightmares,” said Zandra Mason, who filed the lawsuit on behalf of her children.
On Tuesday, Mason filed a lawsuit against 17 Cleveland police officers on behalf of her son and daughter, Zachery and Zelda.
On Dec. 20, 2019, the twins were 11 years old walking along Euclid Avenue in East Cleveland with their 13-year-old friend. They were headed to a library Christmas party.
Cleveland police said they were chasing teens, who had stolen a vehicle at gunpoint from the west side. When they entered East Cleveland, the suspect vehicle jumped the curb, killing Tamia, and injuring Zachery and Zelda.
“Zelda Mason was actually holding Tamia Chappman’s hand when they were both hit… She had severe injuries to her shoulder, her neck and her back, brain trauma as well,” said Stanley Jackson, the family’s attorney and part of the Cochran Firm.
Police arrested two 15-year old boys. The lawsuit calls the officers’ actions reckless.
“I can’t understand how they could not stop these students getting all the way into East Cleveland on Euclid Avenue when three schools had dismissed at that particular time,” said the mother.
In a statement, the city of Cleveland said, “The city saw this complaint just today and has not had a chance to thoroughly review it The city typically does not comment on ongoing litigation.”
“It’s a tragedy that there was a loss of life. Our officers were investigated and found to be within the Cleveland police policy and procedure for pursuing vehicles. It’s a shame in this day and age we put more blame on the officers than the criminals committing the violent crimes,” said Jeff Follmer, president of the Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association.
“Property is replaceable, these children, their innocence, their life is irreplaceable,” Jackson said.
There is no word on when this lawsuit or the suit filed by Tamia’s family will be heard. Both are requesting “unspecified” damages.