A Maryland police officer has been charged with second-degree murder in the fatal shooting of a man who was handcuffed in a police cruiser.
The Prince George’s County Police Cpl. Michael Owen Jr. who’s also facing manslaughter and associated weapons charges shot 43-year-old William Howard Green, seven times.
The deadly shooting happened Monday night during a struggle inside the cruiser after Prince George’s County police officers responded to reports that a driver had struck multiple vehicles near the Temple Hills community, CBS Baltimore reported.
“I’m unable to come to our community this evening and provide you with a reasonable explanation for the events that occurred last night,” Prince George’s County Police Chief Hank Stawinski told reporters Tuesday. “I have concluded that what happened last night is a crime.”
Citing police sources, WJLA reported that Owen and another officer responded to the reports that a driver had rammed into multiple vehicles near the Temple Hills Community.
The officers found Green and thought he was under the influence of a substance after smelling what they believed to be PCP in his car. They called for a drug recognition expert, police said in a statement.
Green was taken to the front seat of Owen’s police cruiser to wait for the expert’s arrival.
A struggle ensued thereafter inside the police cruiser between the officer and Green and he was “shot seven times by the officer’s duty weapon,” according to police.
“There are no circumstances under in which this outcome is acceptable and I want to extend my heartfelt sorrow and sympathies to the Green family,” Stawinski said Tuesday.
Deborah Jeon, legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland, slammed the shooting and demanded full transparency and accountability in the investigation.
“There is no reason why a handcuffed person should ever be shot multiple times by a police officer, let alone shot multiple times inside a patrol car. Anything short of that assessment would just demonstrate complete lack of respect for human life,” Jeon said in a statement.
Video footage of the incident is not available, CNN reported. Prince George’s County Executive Angela D. Alsobrooks told reporters Owen, unlike some officers in the police department, was not wearing a body camera.
Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Aisha Braveboy said there will be a thorough investigation into the case, CBS Baltimore reported.