Victims of Baltimore’s Gun Trace Task Force win $6M settlement after decade-long pursuit of justice 

Azrael, Franz, Schwab, Lipowitz and Solter lawyers take on compelling police corruption case and achieve justice for the Davis family

The Baltimore Board of Estimate approved a $6 million settlement on  March 1,  2023 that ended a federal lawsuit over the 2010 death of Elbert Davis, who was struck by a driver pursued by members of the now-defunct Gun Trace Task Force.

‘’We’re pleased with the resolution. We had to wait a long time but we were patient…we got justice for our parents and we can have some closure for ourselves,” said Davis’ daughter, Shirley Johnson.

Our firm is very proud of the results we achieved for the Davis family on a hard-fought Civil Rights case we have pursued over the past few years

Azrael Franz Partner, Judson Lipowitz said “This resolution is gratifying because this family deserved justice and in the end justice prevailed and when you represent a family that is this close and harmonious and this dedicated you know that it flows from their parents. You see that their parents did a great job raising their children who are now all adults and living successful lives. It feels good to be able to represent them and to get them the result that they wanted.”

Azrael Franz attorneys filed the lawsuit on behalf of the Davis Family in 2018. Here, the attorneys at Azrael Franz provide details regarding the case:

Victims of Baltimore’s Gun Trace Task Force win $6M settlement after decade-long pursuit of justice

The fatal crash stemmed from an April 28, 2010, traffic stop initiated by three Baltimore Police Department (BPD) officers in the 3800 block of Parkview Ave. in West Baltimore. BPD officer Wayne Jenkins, a member of the Gun Trace Task Force, and two other BPD officers falsely claimed they witnessed Burley conducting a drug transaction. When the plain-clothes officers in unmarked cars approached and surrounded Burley with their guns drawn Burley believed he was being robbed and fled the scene in his vehicle at a high speed. The pursuit ended when Burley ran a stop sign and crashed into another vehicle, killing Elbert Davis and severely injuring Davis’ wife, Phosa Cain.

The corruption investigation revealed that after the crash, Jenkins planted a large quantity of heroin in Burley’s vehicle to justify the wrongful BPD actions which resulted in the death of Mr. Davis.  Jenkins and his accomplices also falsified police reports to cover their tracks.

“This represents an important result for the community and for the citizens of Maryland. Police should not be permitted to violate the civil rights of innocent victims and in this case the Gun Trace Task Force was violating the rights of innocent victims for decades and the chain of command in the Baltimore Police Department knew about it and did nothing to prevent it and as a result Elbert Davis was killed and Phosa Cain was seriously injured,” said Judson Lipowitz, Azrael Franz Partner. “Somebody needs to fight for the rights of victims and that’s what our firm does.” 

Azrael Franz is dedicated to defending the rights of victims and their families in matters of wrongful death and serious personal injury. We fight hard for our clients, sometimes against incredible odds, but where clients’ claims are just we stand with them to the end.

To learn more about the firm’s commitment to victim advocacy, click here.