The Baltimore police union joined State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby on Thursday in declaring that an investigation into Detective Sean Suiter’s death remains open, one day after the police commissioner closed the case as a suicide.

The contradictions continue a busy two days that included a Maryland State Police report backing the suicide finding, Police Commissioner Michael Harrison’s decision and a news conference by Suiter’s family calling it a sham.

Mosby declined to talk about the apparent discrepancy.

“I can’t comment on open and pending matters,” Mosby told reporters outside the courthouse.

“An investigation by your office?” she was asked.

“I can’t comment,” she said.

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On Wednesday, Harrison said the State Police review supports an earlier external analysis that found Suiter committed suicide and that there was not “any suggestion [in the report] that the case should be re-investigated or continued.”

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The police department has not publicly released the report.

Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 3 President Sgt. Mike Mancuso, who is also a detective, contradicted Harrison in a statement to the Baltimore Sun. He said that police department detectives are still investigating.

“The Suiter case is very much an open and active case being investigated by BPD Homicide,” Mancuso said. “BPD Homicide Detectives are some of the best in the country and will investigate all cases until all leads are exhausted.”

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A police spokesman declined to comment Thursday.

Suiter was shot in the head and killed in November 2017 after he darted into a vacant lot in West Baltimore while investigating a homicide.

The investigation prompted police to cordon off the Harlem Park neighborhood for days as the agency searched for the gunman. It was later revealed that Suiter was shot one day before he was to appear before a federal grand jury investigating the Gun Trace Task Force corruption scandal.

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It’s unclear whether the police department closing its case will cause the medical examiner’s office to change the manner of death, which was previously ruled a homicide.

Bruce Goldfarb, a spokesman for the state medical examiner’s office, said Thursday he could not comment on any potential changes to the finding because of the investigation out of the state’s attorney’s office.

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“We don’t discuss cases that are under investigation,” he said.

Last year, the Sun reported that Mosby’s office asked the medical examiner not to make any changes to the ruling on the cause of death in the case, citing lingering questions about DNA evidence.

A previous review of the Suiter investigation by the Independent Review Board — a group of law enforcement experts hired by the city to review the case — concluded Suiter’s death was a suicide. Gary Childs, a retired homicide detective who served on the board, told the Sun last year there were no open questions about DNA evidence. The panel’s 2018 report said that “no traceable DNA was recovered from the weapon other than Suiter’s.”

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On Wednesday, Suiter’s family and attorney condemned the state police report, saying it was merely rubber-stamping a prior flawed investigation. Suiter’s wife, Nicole, said her family wanted investigators to talk to her and learn her husband’s state of mind.

Suiter’s attorney, Jeremy Eldridge, said Thursday that Mosby’s comments confirm his belief that police detectives and the state’s attorney’s office haven’t closed the books on the detective’s death. He called the commissioner’s words “denied reality.”

At Wednesday’s news conference with the Suiter family, he said the detective was not a suspect in the federal corruption probe and did not commit suicide.

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“We weren’t worried about him being prosecuted,” he said. Suiter, Eldridge said, was worried about blowback from colleagues and how other officers looked at him. Eldridge said the department is a difficult place to work.

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It’s unclear how the recent developments will affect Suiter’s family’s ability to receive benefits. A suicide finding could mean the loss of more than half a million dollars in benefits, workers’ compensation and pension payouts.

“If the death certificate changes from homicide to suicide, that is going to have a big impact on everything,” said Paul Siegrist, a Pennsylvania-based attorney hired by the Suiter family.

“We want to act. We’ve been sitting around waiting, over a year,” since the independent review board’s investigation concluded, Siegrist said in an interview Thursday.

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Initially, Siegrist said, he thought the death certificate could change, but ultimately the board didn’t have the authority other than to issue an opinion.

But he said the state police findings could be different.

Eldridge said there is a workman’s compensation matter pending regarding Suiter’s death in the line of duty.

“In all fairness, nothing should change,” Eldridge said, adding that the family plans to pursue the funds.

— Baltimore Sun

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