Families join ACLU of Maryland to call for more police reforms

Relatives of men who were killed or injured after contact with police in Prince George’s County have joined the ACLU of Maryland in issuing a number of new demands for police reform.

Speaking to reporters in front of the Prince George’s County Executive Office building, Tracy Shand, whose 49-year-old brother Leonard was killed by police in 2019, said she still has questions about her brother’s death.

In Leonard Shand’s case, police from Prince George’s County, Hyattsville and Mt. Rainer responded to a call about a man with knives near the Mall at Prince George’s on Sept. 26, 2019. After nearly a half-hour standoff, Leonard Shand moved toward police. They opened fire, and he was killed.

At Friday’s news conference with the ACLU of Maryland, Tracy Shand asked, “Why did you shoot immediately? And why did it take 44 shots to take one person down who did not have a gun?” she asked.

Police used stun guns, pepper spray and a bean-bag gun, before deploying a flash-bang device to get Leonard Shand to drop the knives.

A Prince George’s County grand jury declined to indict any of the officers who responded to the call.

Tracy Shand was among a group of residents who joined with the ACLU of Maryland to call on Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks to act on a number of police reforms.

Among the actions the ACLU wants Alsobrooks to take: Provide and make public an unredacted version of an expert witness report on police conduct that is part of a federal case on alleged bias within the Prince George’s County Police Department.

Another calls on Alsobrooks to “ensure justice” in the case of Leonard Shand and William Greene, another man who died after an encounter with police.

And the ACLU of Maryland wants a review of 7,000 cases of use-of-force complaints already ruled “justified” by Prince George’s County police.

In response to the demands, Gina Ford, spokesperson for Alsobrooks referenced the court cases stating, “These are matters being handled by attorneys in court, and we are confident that the litigation process will ensure fairness for all the parties involved.”

Tracy Shand said she still has questions about the case involving her brother; and she said that when she recently went to the Hyattsville Police Department to file a complaint, she was told “nothing would be done” with her complaint because the criminal case is over.

Asked about that, Adrienne Agustus, spokesperson for the Hyattsville Police Department, wrote that Deputy Chief Scott Dunklee had spoken to Tracey Shand and explained that while she could file the complaint, the criminal investigation had concluded and that “the administrative investigation is the next step in this process and that an outside agency will be conducting that investigation.”

Kate Ryan

As a member of the award-winning WTOP News, Kate is focused on state and local government. Her focus has always been on how decisions made in a council chamber or state house affect your house. She's also covered breaking news, education and more.

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