A woman who suddenly collapsed and fell severely ill after she was arrested by Baltimore police officers last week passed away today.
Kim Doreen Chase, 52, was pronounced dead at Saint Agnes Hospital in Southwest Baltimore, a police spokesman said. Her exact cause of death will be determined in an autopsy.
Chase’s arrest last week caused a stir not because of her alleged crime, but because of what happened after she was taken to the Southwest District police station. Chase had been wanted on a warrant for failing to appear in court in Calvert County after she was arrested on drug charges there last August, per court records.
Police took her into custody after find her near her home on Hollins Street on April 9. However, as Police Commissioner Kevin Davis later revealed in a press conference, her arresting officers allowed her a “pit stop” to her house, where she had a family member braid her hair before she was taken away by police.
Shortly after officers transported Chase in a van to the station and put her in a holding cell, she fell ill and was hospitalized. She was in critical condition for days until she passed away today.
Davis said he was certain that officers didn’t use any excessive force based on body camera footage from the arrest and from inside the transport van. He did, however, suspend with pay a lieutenant involved in the arrest and placed two officers on administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation.
The commissioner said the “only mystery” was what preexisting medical issues Chase was suffering from or what “other issues occurred” to cause her health crisis.
“The timing of the year is not lost on me,” Davis added on April 10, referring to the then-approached two-year anniversary of Freddie Gray’s death in police custody. Gray, as many know, suffered fatal neck injuries after being left unsecured in the back of a police transport van on April 19, 2015.
The commissioner noted the interaction between officers and Chase “did not contribute to the medical condition she’s now suffering from.”
“These officers knew this prisoner, they knew our detainee, they knew her by name…they knew her from the community,” he said.
He did admit he was curious about officers’ decision to make a “pit stop” for Chase – “that was one of the first questions I had,” he said at the press conference.
An attorney listed for Chase in court records couldn’t be reached Thursday.
The Special Investigations Response Team is investigating the circumstances of her arrest and collapse.