A Maryland county has reached a $ 20 million settlement with the family of an unarmed Black man who was fatally shot by a police corporal while he was handcuffed in a patrol car in January, officials said. on Monday. The figure, announced Sunday, is among the largest settlements in a case involving the murder of a police officer.
“There is no appropriate price tag to accompany the loss like that one, but we believe that the actions taken that night against Mr. Green and ultimately made against his family mandating the settlement that this, “Angela D. Norbrooks, the executive of Prince George̵7;s County, told a news conference.
Ms. Sanbrooks, a former prosecutor, said the police “have given this community a wonderful and very difficult responsibility to protect life.
“And when that trust is abused, it is necessary to take quick and definite action,” he added.
Corporal Michael Owen Jr., a 10-year veteran of the Prince George Police Department, shot the man William H. Green, 43, several times on January 27, while Mr. Green’s hands were handcuffed behind him and as he sat in the front seat of a parked police cruiser, officials said.
Officials said Corporal Owen, who was Black, fired seven shots from inside his patrol car, six of which hit Mr. Green and killed him.
Mr. Green, a father of two working for Megabus, was pulled over and handcuffed because he was suspected of driving under the influence after being hit by several cars, the chief of police said at the time.
Corporal Owen is waiting for another officer to arrive to check on Mr. Green for drugs when he fires.
An initial police account suggested that a struggle preceded the shooting. But after a review of what happened, investigators concluded that there was no “unreasonable explanation for how Mr. Green tried to control the corporal’s gun,” Ms. Norbrooks.
Within 24 hours of the murder, police officers charged Corporal Owen with second-degree murder. This is the first time a county police officer has been charged with manslaughter in the line of duty, Ms.Borbrooks also said.
Corporal Owen, who remains suspended without pay, was also charged with involuntary manslaughter, first-degree assault and use of a firearm to commit a violent crime.
“I determined that he should not be treated differently than any other individual who shot a person multiple times unreasonably, because there are no two justice systems,” Ms.Borbrooks also said.
The province has been in the middle for the past few months with the Green family and its lawyers. Separate criminal proceedings involving Corporal Owen are ongoing, Ms. Canbrooks said. Corporal Owen is in jail awaiting trial until Monday afternoon, according to the province. His lawyer was not immediately reached for comment, but he told The Washington Post that the criminal charges against Corporal Owen were based on “unconfirmed or discounted facts and hasty misconceptions.”
William H. Murphy Jr., one of the family’s lawyers, said the settlement reflected “the abominable nature, the brutal nature, the nonsensical nature of what happened to Mr. Green.” He said that while some may ask questions throughout the settlement, the cost in the province is likely to be lower than the trial, while also freeing the family to wait many years for a resolution.
Malcolm P. Ruff, another family lawyer, said the settlement should be interpreted as a message that “unlawful police violence against unarmed Black men should not go unnoticed. severe punishment and our communities will no longer stand for it. “
At the news conference, Mr. Green’s 21-year-old daughter, Shelly Green, mourned the loss of her father, whom she called “glue” that brought the family together.
“He was always there,” he said. “Now I was left alone without him to know my life.”
In 2011, the department placed Corporal Owen, who was an officer at the time, on administrative leave after he shot and killed a Black man from Landover, Md., Who police said shot him. Police said he pulled over to the side of the road to check on the man, who was on the lawn.
In June, Prince George Police Chief Hank Stawinski stepped down after the American Civil Liberties Union published an extensive report documenting the ways Black and brown police officers were identified by the department. In response to the report, the county also created a task force to revisit other aspects of police, such as the use of force.
As part of the settlement, the Green family will be invited to address the Police Reform Work Group, which assists in the search for a new police chief, according to the province.
The $ 20 million settlement number is not without precedent in a case involving police misconduct. For example, last year, the city of Minneapolis offered $ 20 million to the family of an unarmed Australian woman killed by police after calling 911 to report what she believed sounded by a woman being attacked. But this figure still makes it the largest in Maryland history and the third largest in the country, according to Murphy, Falcon & Murphy, the law firm representing the Green family.