Mother of Akron man killed in crash sues police

CINCINNATI (AP) – The mother of a young Akron man killed in a car crash after she says police chased him at speeds of 90 mph without probable cause and left him to die has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the city and the officers involved.

Merilyn Blackmon, 53, acting as her own attorney, filed the wrongful death lawsuit in federal court in Akron on Monday.

She is accusing a group of unnamed officers of intentionally hurting her son, 24-year-old Jeffere Blackmon on May 18, 2012, by initiating a high-speed chase, hitting his car and causing it to crash through an unoccupied basement.

The lawsuit, which seeks unspecified damages, alleges that after the crash, officers got out of their cruisers, saw Blackmon’s injuries and then left the scene. A bystander called 911, the lawsuit said.

Neither Akron police Lt. Rick Edwards, the department’s spokesman, nor city attorney Cheri Cunningham immediately responded to calls and emails for comment Thursday.

At the time of the crash, Edwards had said police weren’t chasing Jeffere Blackmon, but “spotted him flying through” a neighborhood before losing track of him. Blackmon lost control of his car, ran over a curb and crashed into the basement of a house, Edwards said.

It’s unclear whether an internal investigation of the crash was conducted.

Merilyn Blackmon’s phone number rang unanswered Thursday and does not accept messages.

In the lawsuit, she wrote that the officers involved in the incident intended to physically harm her son and acted with indifference to his medical needs.

“As a result of this intentional and malicious behavior, plaintiff’s son met with an untimely and premature death at the hands of these unknown police officers,” the lawsuit said.

The lawsuit does not explain why officers would have begun chasing Jeffere Blackmon, just that they targeted him after he left his brother’s house and headed home to his two children and pregnant fiancee.

The lawsuit accuses the city of Akron of failing to adequately train officers or maintain policies regarding proper police procedure when it comes to chasing suspects.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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