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Racist Suspect Watch



« Oakland Police Officer who Fatally Shot Black Man Reinstated - with back pay | Main | Excessive Force Lawsuit Filed Against Dallas Police - Facebook Video Shows Officers Beating Unarmed, Handcuffed Black Man »
Tuesday
Mar082011

Unarmed Black Man killed by Baltimore police was informant

From [HERE] and [HERE] Every month since her brother was shot and killed by police last year, Priscilla Johnson has gone back to the Northwest Baltimore neighborhood where he died to hand out fliers, begging for anyone who saw something to come forward.

What his family knows, gleaned largely from media reports, is that Dennis Gregory was a bystander who was shot by detectives who were aiming for his friend Glenn Brooks. And they know from the autopsy that Gregory was hit four times in the back.

What they didn’t know is that Gregory was acting as a confidential informant that night and that it was his call to police to report that Brooks had a handgun that summoned them to the scene in the first place . The revelation is contained for the first time in court documents filed in federal court late last month and obtained by The Baltimore Sun.

It’s the biggest breakthrough yet in the family’s quest to understand the events of that night. Calls to detectives and visits to police headquarters have gone unacknowledged, and they’ve found little cooperation from the neighborhood.

“A detective came to our house the next day and said, ‘We came to say your brother is dead, and he didn’t suffer,’ and that they were investigating. That’s all we got,” says Johnson, a state employee.

Police declined to comment on the case, saying that the shooting investigation is still open. A spokesman for Baltimore State’s Attorney Gregg Bernstein confirmed that “a final determination about how to proceed has not been made in this matter," though the officers returned to duty about a month later.

The silence in light of the new information only compounds their frustrations, family members say, with Gregory seemingly reduced to nothing more than collateral damage in the war on the drugs – a disposable ex-con who lost his life as helping in the commissioner’s fight against “bad guys with guns.”

In an interview at the Northwest Baltimore duplex where Gregory lived with his parents, his sister and his 18-year-old son, Johnson acknowledged her brother’s long history of troubles with the law but said he had turned a corner years ago. Court records show he was last arrested in 2008. Family members said they were unaware that Gregory was working with police.

There have been no allegations that Gregory made threatening movements toward the officers, or reached into his waistband, or displayed an object that officers mistook for a weapon — all common reasons cited by police for shootings of civilians. The fact that he was shot in the back raises even more questions for relatives.

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