Crash victim's family reacts to Baltimore commissioner's comments

Suspects fleeing police led to crash

The family of a woman killed in a horrible car crash in North Baltimore is speaking out -- reacting to comments made Thursday by Baltimore City's police commissioner.

It was the first time Police Commissioner Anthony Batts has talked publicly about the crash, which appears to have stemmed from a traffic stop about four miles away.

Family members of Angel Chiwengo , who died in that crash early Tuesday morning , say they would have preferred to hear from the commissioner face-to-face instead.

"It's tragic," Batts said.  "My heart is broken. It's an impact to the organization it's an impact to the officers involved, it's an impact to the whole organization and department."

And to Angel Chiwengo's family.  Baltimore City Police policy prohibits officers from chasing suspects in vehicles -- unless there are circumstances that would allow a chase.

And then the chase must be approved by a commander.  The commissioner declined to answer when asked whether that had happened.

"We're part of an investigation right now and so we can't share everything that's taken place," Batts said.

ABC2 News showed the raw video of the commissioner's comments to Angel Chiwengo's sister and her sister's husband.  They say an apology would have been nice.

"As far as the commissioner, I think he could have come out and showed some type of compassion toward the family," said Nathan Franklin, Angel Chiwengo's brother-in-law.

Or at least, a visit, a hug and a handshake.

""I understand that there's an investigation going on but I think it shows a bit of humanity when you show some type of compassion to the innocent victims that are involved," he said.

Angel Chiwengo's family is in the process of hiring an attorney.

The commissioner said the officers involved in the crash have that right as well, and that's why the department's investigators have not spoken to them yet.

"There's some issues that I have concern with overall, with the incident that took place out there, and kind of disturbing.  But I'm not going to jump to conclusions until I have some valid answers for you," Batts said.

Angel Chiwengo is originally from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in central Africa.

There are members of her family there, who would like to come to the United States for her funeral.

Chiwengo's sister said if Baltimore City Police want to make a gesture of goodwill, helping some of those relatives to get expedited visas so they can attend the funeral would be a good place to start.

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