Connect with us


Mothers of police brutality victims protest potential police plea deal



After being told a week ago that a Prince George’s County police officer charged with murder in the fatal shooting of a handcuffed man has been offered a plea deal, the victim’s family has now been notified by prosecutors that they plan to proceed with the trial.

William Green’s family said they met with prosecutors from the Prince George’s County State’s Attorney’s Office on Saturday and were told that Cpl. Michael A. Owen had been offered a plea deal that could reduce his charges from second-degree murder to voluntary manslaughter and cut back a potential punishment. Green, 43, had his hands restrained behind his back in the front seat of Owen’s cruiser when the officer shot him six times, according to police.

The family went public with criticisms of the potential plea agreement, which The Washington Post reported, this week.

Then on Friday afternoon, just moments after the family held a news conference at the courthouse lambasting the Prince George’s County State’s Attorney’s Office and calling on the judge to reject the deal, prosecutors confirmed that they planned to go forward with the trial and that Owen’s attorney filed court documents indicating the offer Owen intended to accept had been upended.

The State’s Attorney’s Office declined to comment further on the case, citing ethical obligations.


Plea deal offered to Md. officer who fatally shot handcuffed man 6 times

The back-and-forth from prosecutors has angered Green’s family and other community advocates for police accountability, a tension flaring in Maryland as the nation roils from the police killing of a Black man in Memphis.

“Things are changing by the hour,” said Nikki Owens, William Green’s cousin, at the news conference Friday afternoon.

“Since last Saturday, my family has been on a roller coaster,” Owens continued. Prosecutors “don’t understand the pain of last Saturday. They don’t understand how it felt, the tears that my aunt cried, the pain that his son felt, the pain that his daughter felt. They don’t understand that what they did was re-victimize us on Saturday.”

Prosecutors would not comment on the potential plea deal when The Post inquired this week, and pleas are not official until they are accepted by a judge. Though the trial is scheduled to begin Monday, it’s unclear whether it will move forward as planned. Thomas Mooney, Owen’s attorney, requested a delay Friday afternoon, which a judge is expected to consider Monday.

Prince George’s County faces new lawsuit involving officer who shot man in handcuffs

Mooney said the family’s decision to take the plea deal public has made it “impossible” for Owen to have a fair trial in Prince George’s County. The attorney said he plans to file a separate motion for a change of venue, which would move the trial outside the county where there has been less media attention. Mooney said he will also ask the court to sequester the jury during trial “so that media is not further used as a vehicle to destroy Mr. Owen’s ability to have his case heard by a fair and impartial jury.”


Mooney asserted in the court documents he filed Friday that prosecutors had extended, and his client had accepted, a plea offer in the case before news articles, including one from The Post, outlined the proposal.

Mooney said the “jointly proposed plea” was rejected by the court on Thursday.

During their meeting with the state’s attorney’s office Saturday — in which top prosecutor Aisha Braveboy was not present — Green’s family said they were told that the decision to reduce the charges had come after the discovery of new evidence, including Owen’s testimony.

Mooney has said in the past that authorities pressed the second-degree murder charge after a “rushed” investigation. He did not comment on the potential plea deal, nor did he respond to a request for comment Friday.

January marked the three-year anniversary of the police killing of Green, a father of two and Megabus luggage loader whose family called him “Boo Boo,” which came just months before the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police. As Americans across the country took to the streets to demand police accountability, people in majority-Black Prince George’s called for justice for Green.

Owen and Green encountered each other on Jan. 27, 2020. After authorities received a 911 call about a man driving a Buick that had hit several cars, they eventually found the vehicle in Temple Hills. Green was asleep inside. Owen took Green out of the Buick, cuffed his hands behinds his back and then seated him in the front passenger seat of a police cruiser, according to police records. While waiting for a drug recognition expert to arrive, Owen shot Green several times, police said.

Family of man slain by Prince George’s police officer reaches $20 million settlement with county


Afterward, Owen, who was not wearing a body camera at the time of the shooting, said that Green had reached for the officer’s firearm and that he feared for his life. Prosecutors had asserted there was no evidence Green had posed a serious threat.

The day after the shooting, Owen was charged in Green’s death, making him the first county officer charged with murder in connection with actions taken while on duty.

In court filings Friday, Mooney asserted there was a “violent struggle between the two men” in Owen’s police cruiser that lead to the deadly shooting. He also said Green was under the influence of drugs at the time.

Nine months later, Prince George’s officials and the family’s attorney announced a $20 million settlement in a civil case against the county, one of the largest police misconduct payouts in the nation at the time.

Owen’s encounter with Green was not the first time the officer had fired his duty weapon. A Post investigation into Owen’s history found that the department had missed opportunities to steer a struggling and errant officer back on course long before Green’s killing.

Owen, who had been with the department for 10 years, had used force twice in quick succession the previous summer, triggering the agency’s early-warning system. It took months for the system, which relied on information being compiled by hand and entered into a database, to create the flag, police officials said. Owen’s supervisors weren’t formally notified until the month he killed Green, and they had not taken action.

In his motion Friday, Mooney said the case had an “unusual history” because of its multiple delays during the coronavirus pandemic, which shuttered the courts for months and made in-person jury trials unsafe.


One of the defense’s witnesses, a use of force expert, suffered a heart attack in 2021 and finished rehab two weeks ago, Mooney wrote. Were the trial to begin next week, the expert would not be able to testify, the filing claims. Mooney called his testimony “essential” to the case and said the expert would be available as early as April.

Mooney also said the defense counsel has a “good faith basis” to believe prosecutors have yet to turn over discoverable material in the case. Prosecutors had acknowledged to defense, Mooney wrote, that a “series of re-enactments were conducted and, per their expert, videotaped. Defense is yet to receive those videos.”

Source: Washington Post

Follow us on Google News to get the latest Updates