Alfred Fincher was alone, making his way along North Avenue in East Baltimore on the night of Feb. 8.
Suddenly, the driver of a stolen vehicle — with police not far behind — drove through a red light and crashed into another vehicle, newly released footage shows. The stolen car smashed into Fincher and then a vacant building just behind him. The building then toppled onto both cars.
Fincher, 54, was pronounced dead at the scene.
New footage from the horrific sequence of events, released Thursday by the Maryland Attorney General’s Office’s Independent Investigations Division, also sheds more light on the role of police, showing that an officer in pursuit of the vehicle about a half block behind before slowing down seconds before the crash.
In a conversation with The Baltimore Banner, Fincher’s daughter and sister recalled how he had taken care of his ailing mother, and that he was a father of three looking forward to new twin grandchildren. Relatives are awaiting the result of the review and have retained an attorney, Divya Potdar.
“We’re trusting in the legal system to do what needs to be done,” said sister Georgetta Fincher. “All we’re doing right now is processing his loss; that’s all we can focus on right now.”
Police say 33-year-old Shawn Lee Brunson was driving the stolen vehicle. Brunson has been charged with vehicle theft and is being held without bond. Authorities have said further charges are pending.
Police previously said officers had attempted to pull over the stolen vehicle just before 9 p.m., and that the driver fled. The footage shows that just prior to the crash, Officer Devon Yancy was in pursuit about a half block behind the stolen vehicle.
On body camera footage, a supervisor can be heard over the police radio saying to “break it off” and Yancy’s engine stops revving, but the crash occurs a few seconds later. The body camera footage leading up to the crash lasts about two minutes, although the angle of the video makes it difficult to tell how long Yancy was actively involved.
Potdar said she believes the footage shows that Yancy did not break off the pursuit as directed.
“We intend to obtain the rest of the evidence and see what else occurred leading up to Mr. Fincher’s death,” she said. “Police officers need to be better trained to stop chasing stolen vehicles when it needlessly puts the lives of Baltimore residents in jeopardy. We will get justice for the Fincher family.”
Yancy remains on full active duty, a police spokeswoman said Thursday. The attorney general’s office’s IID unit, which was created to investigate “police-involved fatalities,” is continuing its review, which will look into possible criminal or policy violations.
The office does not have authority to bring charges and has refrained from making conclusions in its reports; the Baltimore State’s Attorney’s Office will decide whether charges are warranted against the officer.
The footage shows the vacant building toppled instantly, with bricks and pieces of wood falling onto both cars and Fincher. Officers arriving on scene pulled bricks off the car and pulled people out of the vehicles.
Police said last month there were two occupants in the stolen vehicle, a black 2017 Hyundai Sonata, and three in the second vehicle that was struck while driving through the intersection.
Brunson, the man accused of stealing the vehicle, does not have an attorney listed in court records.
Fincher’s relatives said he had worked for a family demolition business, and in recent years he took side jobs in demolition. When his mother suffered a massive stroke several years ago, he moved in and took on the role of caretaker.
Kelli Fincher credits her father with her successes. When Kelli was younger, her father would put her on his shoulders so she could “see the world from high, not from the ground,” she recalled.
“That’s how he wanted me to move forward in life,” she said. “I feel like that’s why I’m not a product of my environment. I have a daughter, and I install that same thing in her.”