On Monday night, a Maryland police officer shot a handcuffed black man. He has since been taken into custody and charged with second-degree murder in just under 24 hours time.
In an incredible announcement, Police Chief Henry P. Stawinsky III of Prince George’s County said the following on Tuesday:
“Here are the facts: I am unable to come to our community this evening and provide you with a reasonable explanation for the events that occurred last night,” said Stawinski.
He then repeated that exact statement a second time for emphasis.
“I have concluded that what happened last night is a crime. There are no circumstances under which this outcome is acceptable.”
Stawinski made this announcement with the Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks at his side. The state’s attorney, Aisha Braveboy, was also present.
“Less than 24 hours ago, we had a critical incident. I have been briefed around the clock,” said Alsobrooks. “There is nothing that is acceptable about this incident.”
Around 8 pm on Monday, police responded to reports that a driver had rammed his vehicle into several other cars. Police later told reporters that the driver, identified as 49-year-old William Green, was high. They also said they smelled PCP inside of his car.
However, Stawinski said, “We do not believe PCP was involved.”
An officer cuffed Green’s arms behind his back and strapped him into the passenger seat of the police cruiser. It was about 20 minutes later when Officer Michael Owen entered the car and shot Green after he asked if he could use the bathroom.
The officer shot Green seven times. Other officers at the scene tried to attempt lifesaving measures, but Green was pronounced dead after being transported to a local hospital.
After the incident, Stawinksi said that a special investigations consult team, use-of-force experts and forensic scientists were called in to conduct a “thorough and exhaustive review” of what happened that night.
It is rare for a police department to announce criminal charges against someone in their own department, especially within such a quick time frame. It usually takes months of community pressure for charges to come forward, if they ever come forward at all.