The following is a statement from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Maryland regarding the recent reporting of a Black man killed by officers from Prince George’s County Police Department, Mt. Rainier Police Department, and Hyattsville Police Department.
"A Black man was killed in Hyattsville this morning. He was in a disoriented state when officers with the Prince George’s County, Mt. Rainier, and Hyattsville Police Departments shot and killed him during a confrontation. Given the pattern of Maryland law enforcement officers gunning down Black and Brown people and their selective release of information, we are challenging the officers' narrative. Their language only continues to paint victims as threats while wiping their hands clean of any wrongdoing.
"The police claim to have spent nearly 30 minutes containing this man and using “less than lethal force,” which is not the same thing as de-escalation. Based on the press conference PGPD gave, there was no mention of a health professional ever called to come on-scene to peacefully de-escalate the situation. Instead officers followed the man with their guns pointed.
"Officers used a flashbang grenade, which inevitably led to the killing of 49-year-old Leonard Shand, according to @PGPDNews. Running away from an exploding flashbang grenade is a natural and inevitable response. The police created a dangerous situation, causing an armed man to run towards them, and then used the inevitable result of their actions as the justification to shoot him.
"This was exemplified today with the PGPD Twitter account (@PGPDNews) choosing to release photos of bloody knives that the victim was alleged to have been carrying, instead of the vast body cam and/or dashcam footage that they claim to have of the incident. Bystanders, however, have taken numerous videos of what happened. In the footage released, nobody was seen to be stabbed. The police officers shot multiple times, and not only left bullet holes in the victim’s body but bullet holes in nearby buildings that could have easily hit any other passerby.
"Poor training and systematic racism are not excuses for Maryland police agents to kill Black and Brown people at will with no accountability. Together we must put a stop to police brutality and the needless killings of Black and Brown people. We cannot afford to fail in this goal because lives are at stake. #BlackLivesMatter"