PRINCE GEORGE’S COUNTY, Md. (WDVM) — It’s been 6 long years since Prince George’s County Detective Jacai Colson was shot and killed by a fellow officer. On March 13, 2016, Michael Ford began shooting at the District 3 station and at people in the area. Jacai’s family spoke out Wednesday afternoon for the first time since filing a lawsuit against the county.
Sheila Colson, Jacai’s mother, held back tears as she addressed members of the media who gathered for the announcement.
“March 13, 2016, will be embedded in my heart for the rest of my life until I get to see our son again.”Sheila Colson, mother of fallen officer Jacai Colson
Colson was responding to the incident in plain clothes and reportedly identified himself as police but was still shot to death by now-retired officer Taylor Krauss, according to the Associated Press.
“He did what a police officer should have done that day,” Sheila Colson said, emotionally. “He wasn’t a threat he was a hero. He saved the community, saved an entire community only to be recklessly and carelessly shot.”
Jacai’s family was awarded $400,000, the maximum amount the law allows under the Tort Claims Act. But his family says that’s not enough.
James Colson, Jacai’s father, explains that he and his wife attend every celebration, like a birthday, holiday, or wedding held by his family or by Jacai’s friends and peers, in their son’s place and it’s a painful reminder that their son is no longer with them.
“Every time we get invited to one of Jacai’s peers, their weddings, their firstborn children. Jacai should have gone. But instead, we go in his place,” James Colson explained. “The settlement, although it alleviates the torture of a courtroom by no means is the Colson family finished because there is still justice to be done.”
The Colson family says pursuing criminal charges against Taylor Krauss is not off the table and believes race could have played a factor in this incident.
“Jacai Colson was a strong black man. Taylor Krauss was a white officer, and the shooters, in this case, were black,” Malcolm Ruff, the Colson family lawyer, explained. “So the only justification that could be provided was that Taylor Krauss thought that Jacai Colson was somehow involved in the shooting.”
James Colson voiced his anger and frustration that criminal charges were not originally brought forth against Krauss.
“That officer has not been accountable for any of his actions. In fact, they let Taylor Krauss remain on the police department until he got 10 years of service and then they let him sneak out of the backdoor and retire,” Colson said.
Prince George’s County Police Department declined to comment on the settlement but released a statement to WDVM regarding the incident reading:
“The Prince George’s County Police Department continues to mourn the loss of Detective Jacai Colson. March 13th, 2016 was a tragic day for our agency. Our community, his family, and for everyone whose life he touched, we will always remember his act of heroism and his ultimate sacrifice.”
The gunman who opened fire on the station, Michael Ford, was sentenced to 195 years in prison and according to his lawyers, he fired shots at the station in an attempt to get the police to shoot and kill him.