Family of man fatally shot by Maryland cop while handcuffed reaches $20m settlement

Francis Akhalbey September 29, 2020
William Howard Green (left) was fatally shot by former Maryland cop, Corporal Michael Owen Jr. (right) several times while handcuffed -- Left Photo via Green's family | Right Photo via Prince George's County Police

The family of William Howard Green, the 43-year-old Black man who was fatally shot six times by a Prince George’s County police officer while handcuffed in his patrol car has reached a $20 million settlement with the county.

The announcement was made by Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks alongside Green’s family and attorney at a news conference on Monday.

“This settlement in no way makes up for the loss experienced by Mr. Green’s mother, children and family,” Alsobrooks said, according to WUSA9. “However, when we are wrong, and we need to take responsibility, we will. When we need to make reforms in our police department, we will; and in circumstances where we must defend our department, we will.”

A niece of Green who was also at the conference said the family is going to use a part of the settlement to set up a foundation in his name. “This does nothing for us but close this chapter and allows us to move on to what is next,” she said.

The Washington Post reports this is one of the largest one-time settlements for an officer-involved killing in the United States.

“To be clear, there is no price that you can put on the life of a son, a father, an uncle, a brother — there is no appropriate price tag to accompany a loss like that,” said Alsobrooks, according to CBS News. “But we believe the actions taken that night against Mr. Green, and ultimately taken against his family, warrant this settlement.”

Corporal Michael Owen Jr., a former Prince George’s County Police Corporal, was charged with second-degree murder, manslaughter, assault, use of a handgun and misconduct in office in March for the fatal January 27 shooting of Green.

Per the police report of the incident that night, Owen responded to a call of a man who had hit several cars while driving. When he arrived, a witness told him the suspect, Green, was sleeping in his car after blocking him from moving. Court documents revealed that Owens subsequently got Green – who “appeared to be under the influence of an unknown substance” – out of his car, WUSA9 reports.

Owens handcuffed Green and moved him to his patrol vehicle where he made him sit on the front passenger side. Minutes after Owens moved to the driver’s seat, seven shots reportedly rang out, with Green fatally hit several times.

An initial police report after the incident said some witnesses alleged there was a struggle between Owens and Green prior to the shooting, but that could not be proven during investigations, CBS News reports. A prosecutor in the case also said Green was “absolutely no threat.”

Prior to the shooting, Owens – who has also been involved in at least two other shooting incidents – had been flagged by the police department’s early-warning system for the use of force on two different occasions within a short period the summer before, according to The Washington Post. His supervisors were, however, not officially notified until January and action wasn’t taken before he fatally shot Green.

Owens is currently being held without bond pending trial.

Last Edited by:Nii Ntreh Updated: September 29, 2020


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