Personal Injury Blog

Family of Undercover Detective Shot by Police Officer Files Lawsuit Against Prince George's County

By: Allan M. Siegel

In June, the family of a fallen undercover police officer filed a lawsuit against Prince George’s County and the county police officer who fired the fatal shots and who acted recklessly, according to the family.

The shooting occurred in 2016, and was begun when an armed man, Michael DeAndre Ford, fired shots at the doors of a police station in in Palmer Park, Maryland, and at officers and randomly at cars and an ambulance. Several officers swarmed the area to stop Ford, including both Officer Taylor Krauss and the victim, Detective Jacai Colson. In the midst of the action, the lawsuit alleges that Officer Krauss fired his gun even though his view was obstructed by a fence, and he was shooting at Detective Colson, a man who did not match the appearance of the actual attacker (Ford) that was radioed to law enforcement. “Detective Colson’s badge,” the lawsuit asserts, “was found laying between his left shoulder and left hand.”

“Complete accountability means holding Officer Taylor Krauss responsible for recklessly firing his weapon under circumstances where no reasonable officer would have fired,” according to the family’s statement, sent through Baltimore-based lawyer Jason G. Downs. “Indeed, no other officer fired at Detective Colson, underscoring the reckless and senseless nature of Officer Krauss’ actions.”

A grand jury declined to indict Officer Krauss, but that still left Detective Colson with the option of filing a civil lawsuit against Officer Krauss and the county for negligence. Unlike a criminal prosecution, a civil lawsuit only needs to be proved by a preponderance of the evidence instead of beyond reasonable doubt. Furthermore, if the family wins, it will be entitled to monetary compensation from the county for the death of Detective Colson. This case is another example of the principle that the civil justice system can help victims of police misconduct when the criminal justice system falls through.

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of police misconduct, you should contact the personal injury attorneys at Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. for a free consultation.