HYATTSVILLE, Md. — He was armed with two knives. Police did everything they could to stop him, and ultimately were left with no choice but to kill him.
Now the ACLU is attacking the officers.
Here’s what happened.
Thursday morning, a man armed with two knives was shot and killed by police. It happened in Hyattsville, Maryland. According to officers they used eight non-lethal weapons to try and deescalate the situation first.
It started with a 911 call to the Hyattsville Police Department at 7:14 a.m. from a coffee shop near Toledo and Belcrest roads.
The caller said a man had hit an employee in the head with a metal pole three days earlier, and that he had returned with two knives.
— Brad Bell (@ABC7Brad) September 26, 2019
Officers from Hyattsville, Mount Rainier and Prince George’s County rushed to the call along with a K-9 unit.
In total, 10 officers tried to disarm the suspect using non-lethal methods over the span of 30 minutes.
According to Amal Awad, who is with the City of Hyattsville’s Police Department, three different officers unsuccessfully used a Taser.
Another officer used pepper spray. That didn’t work either.
According to Awad, another supervisor arrived at the scene armed with a non-lethal shotgun filled with bean bags.
That’s when the suspect said he “embraced death,” and told the supervisor:
“I’m going to get you.”
— Brad Bell (@ABC7Brad) September 26, 2019
To try and disorient the suspect, an officer deployed a flash bang. Then the supervisor deployed the non-lethal shotgun.
Instagram user @princessbigcheef posted what led up to 49-year-old Leonard Shand being shot by police – the video has been edited to not show the moment the suspect was shot.
To recap, the four bean bag shots, one pepper spray and three Taser rounds weren’t effective in disarming the suspect.
That’s when the suspect “charged” toward the officer with both knives. Several officers then shot and killed the suspect.
“We have a total of six City of Hyattsville police officers who did deploy their firearms,” Awad said. “Prince George’s County responded to the scene to assist our officers as well throughout the deescalation — three of their officers also discharged their firearms. And the City of Mount Rainier police department responded to assist again with deescalation, and one officer also discharged his firearm.”
The man killed was Leonard Shand, 49, with a last known address was in New Carrollton.
“In the 28 minutes between the first engagement and when shots were fired, officers used all non-lethal methods available to them,” Jennifer Donelan, director of Prince George’s County Media Relations Division, said.
— PGPDNEWS (@PGPDNews) September 26, 2019
Prince George’s County Police said released a statement about what happened:
“Investigators are currently analyzing hours of body-worn camera, dash-cam and cell phone video of this incident.
“We will release the names of our three PGPD officers who were involved in this incident on Friday. As is standard operating procedure, our officers are on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation. Any questions about the identities and statuses of the Hyattsville City and Mount Rainier officers should be directed to the respective departments.
“At the request of both Hyattsville City and Mount Rainer Police Departments, the Prince George’s County Police Department’s Special Investigative Response Team will lead the investigation into the officers’ actions surrounding this morning’s incident.
“Anyone with information on this investigation is asked to call 301-856-2660.”
On Thursday afternoon, the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland blamed it on race and the cops.
“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 this man, who has not yet been identified. 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”
Prince County authorities say that the officers did an incredible job at minimizing the danger that the threat posed, including working around morning commuters and children on their way to school.
Social justice activists immediately took to Twitter and other social media platforms to profess about how an innocent, unarmed black man was murdered by the police.
Another one says that the shooting “was the only option, right?”
This is literally right next to PG Mall. Everybody that lives in Hyattsville should know where this is at. They honestly didn’t need 10+ police officers for one homeless guy. What was he gonna do? You guys are trained to do so many things but this was the only option right. https://t.co/UrZ3M5gQJH
— DJ TAKEOVER (@DJTAKEOVERR) September 26, 2019