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Lawsuit filed against Detroit police in connection with 2015 crash that killed 2 children, injured 3

Police say chase ended before Camaro crashed into porch

The Detroit Police Department is being sued in connection with a 2015 crash that left two children dead and three others injured. (WDIV)
The Detroit Police Department is being sued in connection with a 2015 crash that left two children dead and three others injured. (WDIV)

DETROIT – The Detroit Police Department is being sued in connection with a 2015 crash that left two children dead and three others injured.

Detroit police were involved in a chase in June 2015, but officers said they terminated the chase before the vehicle they were pursuing crashed.

The lawsuit claims police attempted a PIT maneuver and the driver of the vehicle lost control.

Camaro crashes into porch

Police said the chase began June 24, 2015, after an officer saw somebody in the car with a gun. Officials said the Camaro got up to 95 mph while fleeing officers.

The Camaro went up on a sidewalk on Nottingham Street and hit the concrete porch of a home, police say.

Half-siblings Michael A. Jackson, 6, and Makiah Jackson, 3, were hit by the Camaro and killed. Three other children and a woman were injured when the car hit a porch.

Lorenzo Harris was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter and other charges in the case. He was sentenced to 30 to 60 years in prison.

After the chase, Detroit police Chief James Craig said the chase lasted 62 seconds. He said the Camaro was going so fast that officers lost sight of it during the chase, but then saw a plume of smoke and responded to that scene.

Lawsuit against Detroit police, city of Detroit

Two lawsuits were filed Friday, one in Wayne County Circuit Court and one in federal court. Attorney Solomon Radner is representing the mother of the children who were killed in the crash and representatives of the wounded.

In the lawsuit, Detroit police officers Richard Billingslea, Steven Fultz and Hakeem Patterson are accused of chasing Harris at a high speed through a heavily populated neighborhood.

According to the lawsuit, Fultz claims he witnessed one of the occupants of the Camaro with a gun, but that it was never recovered.

"The Camaro’s computer confirmed that the vehicle was traveling at over 100 miles per hour in a densely populated neighborhood," the lawsuit says. "The police cruiser was trailing the vehicle by only a short distance when the police cruiser allegedly bumped the Camaro. This bump caused the Camaro’s driver to lose control and strike six-year-old Michaleangeo and his three-year-old sister Makiah, resulting in their deaths."

The lawsuit accuses the officers of being untruthful about what happened.

"This is not the first time that Billingslea and Patterson have been involved in thuggish and dangerous behavior that resulted in the harm of innocent citizens," Radner says.

Billingslea was recently criminally charged for an assault caught on camera by two Detroit residents, both of whom are also represented by Radner, the lawsuit says.