The Baltimore State’s Attorney’s Office has cleared two police officers who were driving behind a 17-year-old when law enforcement claimed that he took off, blew through a stop sign and caused a four-vehicle crash in which he was killed, concluding the teen was the “singular primary cause” of the collision.

Prosecutors detailed their legal analysis and conclusion in an undated 10-page report about the death of Kweli Murphy Al-Mateen. They determined police had probable cause to initiate a traffic stop and neither chased the teen nor followed him in a grossly negligent or criminally negligent manner.

Not long before 6:20 p.m. on Oct. 8, 2022, Detectives Cesar Gonzalez and Cierra Thurmond, a more than 11-year veteran and three-year veteran, respectively, were on routine patrol when they saw an SUV with a Florida license plate facing the wrong direction on Chelsea Terrace and Fairview Avenue, according to the report. The report was posted online Thursday.

When Gonzalez and Thurmond approached the teen in their vehicle, the report states, he drove off at a “high rate of speed.”

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Gonzalez and Thurmond made a U-turn and followed him without activating lights and sirens at distances ranging from a half block to three blocks away, according to the report. They requested help from the police helicopter, Foxtrot.

The teen later drove through a stop sign at the intersection of Grantley Road and Liberty Heights Avenue in West Baltimore and crashed into two other cars, causing one to shift into the path of another vehicle, according to the report. Al-Mateen did not have a driver’s license in Maryland, the report states.

He was later pronounced dead at Sinai Hospital.

Though police might have driven over the speed limit of 25 mph and went through one or more stop signs, investigators concluded those facts do not prove that it was a pursuit, according to the report. The teen, prosecutors stated, “chose to flee in a reckless and dangerous manner.”

His mother said she disagreed with the decision and stated that there was no independent investigation.

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The Maryland Office of the Attorney General Independent Investigations Division previously released body camera video, which mostly shows the aftermath of the crash.

dylan.segelbaum@thebaltimorebanner.com

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