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UPPER MARLBORO, MD – After reviewing evidence and deliberating, a Prince George’s County grand jury voted not to indict the officers who were involved in the shooting of Leonard Shand last September. State’s Attorney Aisha Braveboy made the announcement and released a report from an independent use of force expert today.
“This has been a tragic and emotional incident from the beginning,” said State’s Attorney Braveboy. “I believe it is important to be transparent for Mr. Shand’s family and this community. That is why my office moved to engage an independent use of force expert to thoroughly review this shooting and to present this case to the grand jury.”
Per the findings in the report of the independent use of force expert, on September 23, 2019, Mr. Shand, who was described as a regular at the Starbucks in Hyattsville by the manager, went into the coffee shop. At that time, it is alleged that he assaulted an employee with a weapon and fled the scene. On the morning of September 26, 2019, Mr. Shand returned to the Starbucks and the manager quickly called police. Officers from the Prince George’s County, Hyattsville, and Mt. Rainier police departments responded and found Mr. Shand displaying a knife in each hand. The Officers can be heard on video repeatedly instructing him to drop the knives. At some point during the confrontation officers deployed both their issued Taser and Oleoresin Capsicum (OC) spray neither of which affected Mr. Shand. They continued to follow him as he walked to the intersection of Belcrest Road and Toledo Road.
Mr. Shand then walked into the parking lot of Plaza Tower Apartments. He ignored several orders to drop the knives. Officers next used less than lethal shotgun bean bag rounds, after which Mr. Shand began to charge towards officers. Immediately after the bean bag rounds were shot, officers deployed a flash bang and Mr. Shand continued to charge at the officers. Several officers then discharged their firearms striking him multiple times, and ultimately killing Mr. Shand.
Once the State’s Attorney’s Office received the case, Ms. Braveboy and her team hired Dr. Tyrone Powers, a renowned use of force expert, to examine the facts and evidence. After investigating the case for several months, Powers determined that the shooting of Mr. Shand was objectively reasonable and consistent with accepted standards of police practices, policies, and training.
“Please know that the Grand Jury’s decision not to indict and the conclusions reached by the independent use of force expert do not ease our collective grief, nor does it signal that the response of the officers that day was satisfactory” said State’s Attorney Braveboy. “We continue to mourn the loss of Mr. Shand and uplift his family, and we will continue to look for ways to improve law enforcement engagement with our residents.”
In his report, Dr. Powers outlined a number of recommendations (see below) that the State’s Attorney’s Office will be working with county and municipal police departments to examine and implement.
Appropriate use of flashbang grenades
Joint training between all police departments within Prince George’s County to facilitate joint responses
Establishing a Public Safety Fusion Center to review coordination and consistency in response and training regarding police agency joint responses
Review policies of each police department within the county for the use of non-lethal force
Review, redeploy, or enhance the Mobile Crisis Response Team