The agenda promised “a high-level overview of progress from previous meetings,” but almost immediately the panel created to review the still-unsolved death of Baltimore police Detective Sean Suiter voted yesterday to go into closed session.
“We have some very urgent work to complete in a very short amount of time,” said James “Chip” Coldren Jr., co-chair of the Independent Review Board, apologizing to the media and members of the public listening to the meeting, which was conducted via telephone conference.
Coldren said the panel, meeting for the sixth time, needed to move immediately to discussion and approval of its final report on Suiter’s November 15 death in West Baltimore.
When will the IRB be posting the results from today’s closed session, a reporter asked.
“First thing next week? Monday or Tuesday?” Cordren replied, as if uncertain.
At another point, his answer was “I can’t tell you when. I don’t control that. It’s in the control of the police department and the mayor’s office.
Coldren promised that minutes of the meeting would be posted on the IRB’s website.
When a reporter asked where the previous minutes were, since none had been posted since July 9, Coldren seemed surprised.
“I don’t know,” he said. “If they’re not up there, we’ll get them up there immediately.”
Meeting in closed session via a conference call last month, the IRB took a vote on the main issue the public is waiting to hear – its conclusion on how Suiter died.
The 43-year-old officer was shot in the head in Harlem Park while he was conducting a follow-up investigation on a homicide case, according to police.
The shooting occurred a day before Suiter was scheduled to testify before a grand jury investigating the Gun Trace Task Force corruption scandal.
Police said initially that a man in a black jacket with a white stripe had been spotted in the area just before the shooting. A $215,000 reward for information was announced. The state medical examiner’s office ruled Suiter’s death a homicide.
Then speculation began circulating online and in media reports that suggested Suiter’s death could have been a suicide, a theory family members have rejected.