A Maryland county, following the shooting by an officer Michael Owen Green Jr, has agreed to a $20 million settlement with the family of William Green a man who was handcuffed in a patrol car when Owen shot and killed him.
Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks announced the settlement amount at a news conference Monday, Sept. 28, 2020.
The Prince George’s County police officer who killed William Green in January was arrested on charges including second-degree murder and has a trial scheduled for next year. Michael Owen Jr., who was a 10-year veteran of the police department, has been jailed since his arrest.
Green, 43, of Washington, D.C., was unarmed with his hands cuffed behind his back when Owen shot him six times, County Executive Angela Alsobrooks said during a news conference Monday. She noted that Owen was the first police officer in the county’s history to be charged with murder for a killing while on duty.
“I am deeply sorry for your loss,” Alsobrooks told Green’s mother, who was joined at the news conference by Green’s adult daughter and son.
“There is no appropriate price tag to accompany a loss like that one, but we believe that the actions taken that night against Mr. Green and ultimately taken against his family warrant this settlement,” Alsobrooks said.
Green’s daughter, Shelly Green, said her life has been “flipped completely upside down” by his killing. She said the family will use the settlement proceeds to preserve her father’s legacy and “combat the evil of police brutality.”
“Words cannot express the pain, sorrow and emptiness that we feel,” she said. “I hardly sleep at night because that’s when I think of my daddy the most.”
Family attorney William “Billy” Murphy described the settlement as historic and said ”it reflects the “senseless” nature of the killing…In my 50 years, I have never seen a case this brutal, this senselessly brutal, this depraved.”
Murphy said Alsobrooks, the county’s former top prosecutor, inherited a police department with a history of corruption and racism. Alsobrooks recently formed a task force to identify ways to possibly reform police department’s hiring, training and use-of-force policies.
Owen is Black, and so was Green. ‘In this case, the takeaway is that the Black life of Mr. Green truly mattered and the Black lives of his mother and two children truly matter,” Murphy said.
Investigators did not find any evidence of a fight between Owen and Green before the officer fatally shot him Jan. 27, a police report said.
That finding contradicted statements on the night of the shooting by a police department spokeswoman, who told reporters that two “independent witnesses” said they saw or heard a struggle “of some sort” coming from the patrol car before they heard loud bangs.
Owen had handcuffed Green behind his back after responding to a traffic accident and finding him sleeping in his vehicle, apparently under the influence, put Green in the front passenger seat of the patrol car, which did not have a partition between the front and back seats. Officers are permitted to transport arrested suspects in the front when their patrol cars lack partitions, police said.
A prosecutor, Renee Joy, said in January that Green complied with officers’ commands when he was taken out of the car and handcuffed. Joy said Green posed “absolutely no threat.” Investigators did not find any weapons in Green’s possession or in his vehicle.
During a news conference shortly after Green’s shooting, police department spokeswoman Christina Cotterman said two witnesses told police they either saw or heard a struggle before the shooting. Cotterman also said officers smelled PCP and believed the man was under the influence of that drug. However, the county’s police chief later said PCP did not appear to have been involved and that no account of a struggle in the cruiser could be corroborated.
Its high time attention is paid to police brutality and incessant killing of innocent lives and covering up of murder, under the canopy of the law.
Owen’s trial is scheduled to start on March 22, 2021.
Gift Joseph Okpakorese