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The estate of a 13-year-old girl struck and killed last year during a police pursuit has filed a wrongful death lawsuit alleging that by disregarding procedures the Cleveland officers involved in the chase are responsible for her death.

On Dec. 20, 2019, 13-year-old Tamia Chappman, who was a student at Superior Elementary School, was walking to a library in East Cleveland with a group of friends when a car fleeing from police went up onto a sidewalk and struck and killed her.

The pursuit began in Cleveland after a woman outside a Target was carjacked at gunpoint by two men. An off-duty officer, who witnessed the robbery, followed the stolen car. Soon after, officers responded to the location and gave chase. The pursuit, which the lawsuit refers to as “egregiously reckless and unnecessary,” continued into East Cleveland at speeds up to 75 mph.

The lawsuit, which was filed against nearly two dozen Cleveland police officers, states that the officers’ actions in the chase “were in conscious disregard of or indifference to a known or obvious risk of harm to another that was unreasonable under the circumstances.”

“It is clear from our independent investigation these 22 officers did not exercise due care and as a direct result of that Tamia Chappman is not here with her family,” said attorney Shean Williams during a teleconference announcing the filing of the lawsuit Thursday.

It also states that police violated Ohio law and department procedures “in that the immediate danger of the pursuit is less than the immediate danger to the public if the suspects in the fleeing vehicle remained at large.”

According to the lawsuit, Tamia’s death was a “direct and proximate result of the negligent, grossly negligent, willful, wanton, reckless, intentional, extreme and outrageous actions” by the defendants.

“At the time that this incident, chase occurred, the original victim was already safe,” said Williams. “The only thing they were chasing at that point was property. There’s never a situation where property should be taken over the life a person, particularly this young lady.”

The lawsuit seeks a jury trial and an unspecified amount of compensatory and punitive damages.

For more information please check out the full article from News 5 Cleveland:

•  https://www.news5cleveland.com/news/local-news/cleveland-metro/wrongful-death-lawsuit-filed-against-cleveland-officers-for-chase-that-killed-13-year-old-girl