Police Ambush Suspect Asked Brother to Send Video of Attack to Hip-Hop Website, Detective Says

Michael Ford allegedly asked his brother to record the attack and send it to World Star Hip Hop, his girlfriend and others

The man suspected of opening fire on police officers in Maryland last month asked his brother to send video of the attack, which police say led to the death of an officer, to the entertainment website, a detective testified Wednesday.

Prince George's County Detective Joshua Malinowski testified in court Wednesday morning that suspected shooter Michael Ford, 22, told his brothers, Elijah and Malik Ford, he wanted to attack police.

Michael Ford told Malik to record the planned March 13 attack and send cellphone video to the website, the suspected shooter's girlfriend and other contacts in his phone, Malinowski said. 

"They were hoping that there would be some sort of notoriety that would come out of this," Prince George's County State's Attorney Angela Alsobrooks said.

WorldStarHipHop, which has called itself "the hip-hop CNN," has published hundreds of graphic videos of shootings involving police officers.

The company did not immediately respond to an inquiry about its policies on publishing videos of shootings purported to involve officers.

Ford's lawyer contends there is more to the case than what police have said.

Officer Jacai Colson was fatally shot outside the District III police station after Michael Ford opened fire on the station and on passing drivers, police said previously.

The Ford brothers entered a courtroom in shackles Wednesday morning. A judge ordered them held in jail after finding probable cause on second-degree murder charges, though they are not accused of firing the shot that killed Colson.

"What the Ford brothers precipitated was a tragedy involving some of the finest officers on the Prince George's County Police Department," Police Chief Hank Stawinski said.

During the chaotic shootout, Colson was shot by a fellow officer who did not recognize him and viewed him as an armed threat, police previously said. He died days before his 29th birthday. 

Malik and Elijah Ford helped Michael Ford before and during the shootout and used their cellphones to record video of the gunfight, police previously said.

Elijah Ford, 18, recorded Michael Ford's "last will and testament" just minutes before Malik Ford, 21, drove them to the Prince George's County Police Department's District III police station, according to authorities.

Police said Michael Ford began firing at the police station and at passing cars, causing officers to return fire.

Colson, 28, was killed after a fellow officer fired at him. He was dressed in plainclothes and had stepped out of an unmarked car.

Police Chief Hank Stawinski on Wednesday identified the officer who fired the fatal shot as Officer Taylor Krauss. He was a good officer and was once named officer of the month, Stawinski said.

The Ford Brothers' Lawyers Respond

Michael Ford's lawyer, Keith Lotridge, said the case is more complex than what police have presented.

"This is a tragedy and there is more to this case than what we've heard," he said. 

Malik Ford's lawyer, Benjamin Evan, said he will argue his client was not involved in a plan to shoot anyone. Evan said he did not believe there was probable cause for his client to be held. 

"We don't believe that there was sufficient evidence for a judge to specifically find probable cause for the felony charges facing Malik Ford," he said.

Elijah Ford's lawyer was not immediately available for comment. 

An aunt of the brothers, Erica Thomas, cried uncontrollably during the court appearance.

"I can't believe it. These are not the guys that I know," she said. "I just love my nephews, and I'm praying for them."

As Michael Ford was escorted out of the courtroom, he cried out "Pray for me." Family members responded, "We will."

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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