A man convicted in the attack on a Maryland police station in which an undercover narcotics detective was mistakenly shot and killed was sentenced to 195 years, but the slain detective's family is lashing out, saying the officer who shot the detective should be in prison as well.
A jury convicted 25-year-old Michael Ford of second-degree murder and other charges in the March 2016 shooting death of Prince George's County police Detective Jacai Colson. A prosecutor said even though Ford didn't fire the fatal shot, he created a "combat zone'' outside the station and caused Colson's death.
In all, Ford was found guilty of 31 charges.
Ford's brothers, 24-year-old Malik, who drove his brother to the police station and pointed him in the right direction of the station, and 21-year-old Elijah, who, according to police, recorded Michael Ford's video will mapping out the shooting, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit murder and were sentenced to 20 years and 12 years, respectively.
Colson's family says Officer Taylor Krauss, who shot Colson, is being protected in a political cover-up.
“I do not for the life of me understand why Officer Taylor Krauss killed my son,” Colson’s mother said. “I’ve come to the realization that my son was killed because he was black.”
Ford, the only defense witness at his trial, testified he was trying to get himself killed when he attacked the station in Landover and never intended to harm anybody.
He said he never saw Colson before Krauss mistakenly shot the plainclothes narcotics detective, but authorities say Ford exchanged gunfire with Colson before Krauss shot his colleague.
In Thursday's hearing, it was revealed Colson was actually shot 30 seconds after a ceasefire and Ford was disarmed and on the ground.
When Colson’s parents had the opportunity to address the court, they said the prosecution was incomplete and tarnished. They called the trial politically rigged.
Colson’s father said whatever sentence the Fords receive, Krauss belongs in the same prison, on the same cell block.
The Colsons said they do believe the Fords needed to get as much time as possible for what happened and believed they were mentally ill.
Michael Ford apologized to the Colson family, and the Colson family made it clear it has never received an apology from Krauss.
Ford fired as many as 23 shots outside the police station but didn't hit anybody during the videotaped ambush.
At his trial, Ford's attorney, Antoini Jones, asked him why he opened fire on the police station.
"Because I wanted to die," Ford said. "And I knew the police kill black men with no problem."
Ford is black, and so was Colson. Krauss, who is white, was not charged.
Krauss testified he never saw Colson hold up a badge or heard him identify himself as a police officer before shooting him once in the chest.
Colson's parents sued Krauss and Prince George's County, accusing Krauss of recklessly firing his rifle that day.
Ford claimed he didn't know his two younger brothers were recording cellphone videos of the ambush after dropping him off at the station outside D.C.
One of the videos shows Ford screaming obscenities and shouting, "Do something!" in between shots.
A judge ruled before trial that Ford couldn't present an insanity defense despite his serious mental-health issues.
Ford said he was hearing voices in his head after he woke up on the morning of the shooting. He said he retrieved a gun from a safe in his car and held it to his head.
"I couldn't pull the trigger," he said.
After meeting his brothers at his mother's home, Ford dictated his last will and testament minutes before they dropped him off at the station.
Ford shot out the police station's glass door before firing at and "barely" missing officers who responded, according to a police report. Ford also fired his .40-caliber handgun at passing vehicles, including an ambulance that was hit by his gunfire, the report said.
Colson was a four-year veteran of the department and 28-year-old native of Boothwyn, Pennsylvania.