Feb 23, 2021
Groups call for transparency, leadership change at PGPD in wake of report
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Civil rights groups are calling for immediate changes within the Prince George’s County Police Department a day after a judge made public the findings of an independent investigation into officers’ claims of racism and retaliation in the department.
As their faces flashed across a Zoom call grid, community activists, leaders and family members who were part of the effort to get the report’s findings made public took turns describing why they are joining together again to make demands of the department.
The expert report by Michael Graham — a former senior officer for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department — was written in connection with a lawsuit against the department by the Hispanic National Law Enforcement Association and others. It was ordered unredacted earlier this month by a federal judge in Maryland.
One demand, said Nikki Owens: “Clean house and install a new admin for the Prince George’s County Police Department, removing everyone at the top, including acting Chief Hector Velez; Cmdr. Kathleen Mills, former head of the internal affairs; and Prince George’s Chief Administrative Officer for Public Safety Mark McGaw.”
Owens, whose cousin William Green was killed by county officer Michael Owen last year, praised the minority officers who reported racism and retaliation within the department that led to the independent Graham report.
The groups’ other demands include involving the community in the process to select the next chief; terminating officers who have perjured themselves and cannot testify in court; and holding the department accountable for spending taxpayer dollars to attempt to “hide full details of the Graham expert witness report from the public and for spending millions of taxpayer dollars to defend police misconduct,” the group said in a statement.
It also wants to empower the Prince George’s Citizen Complaint Oversight Panel to impose discipline and have the panel comprise members chosen by — and representative of — the county’s districts.
Finally, the group demands that the department become more transparent and accountable by posting and making viewable online to the public, in real time, trial board hearings of officer misconduct.
“The unsealed Graham report confirms what we knew. The report shows that our police department cannot continue to operate with its current leadership. We join to demand that PGPD clean house and install a new group of leaders,” said Ashanti Martinez of CASA.
Prince George’s County police did not return a request to comment about the group’s demands, which they want to see addressed immediately.
“Systemic racism is rampant in our entire judicial system,” Owens said. “They were abused and mistreated, and no one listened. No one listened to them. I want the public to know that there are police officers who are out there trying to take a stand, and we need to stand with them.”
News Source: wtop.com
Tags: prince george s county police officer prince georges county police prince george’s county police prince george’s county police george’s county police george’s county police prince george’s county the prince george’s prince george’s george’s county taxpayer dollars police department in the department graham report officers for spending department officer made public
Key Events Since George Floyd's Arrest and Death
May 25 — Two Minneapolis police officers respond to a call of a possible forgery shortly after 8 p.m. at a corner grocery. They encounter a Black man later identified as George Floyd. As they struggle to get him into a squad car, two more officers arrive. Floyd ends up face down on the street, with his hands cuffed behind him. Officer Derek Chauvin places his knee on Floyd's neck and holds it there for about nine minutes while bystanders shout at him to get off Floyd. Bystander video shows Floyd crying out “I can't breathe” multiple times, then going limp before paramedics arrive. Floyd is pronounced dead at a hospital.
May 26 — Shortly after midnight, Minneapolis police release a statement titled “Man dies after medical incident during police interaction.” The statement says Floyd physically resisted officers, officers were able to handcuff him and that he appeared to be suffering from medical distress. The statement makes no mention of a restraint. Minutes after the statement goes out, bystander video of Floyd's arrest is posted online. Police release another statement hours later saying the FBI is joining the investigation. Chauvin and three other officers — Thomas Lane, J. Kueng and Tou Thao — are fired. That evening, protesters fill the intersection where Floyd was arrested and march about 2 miles to a police precinct. Some protesters damage windows and a squad car, and spray graffiti on the building. Tense skirmishes between police and protesters continue late into the evening.
May 27 — Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey calls for criminal charges against Chauvin. Protests turn to unrest, with some people breaking into businesses, starting fires and stealing goods. One man is shot dead. Protests spread to other cities, including Los Angeles and Memphis.
May 28 — Frey calls for calm in the streets. Gov. Tim Walz activates the Minnesota National Guard. That night, police abandon the 3rd Precinct station as protesters overtake it and set it on fire. Unrest spreads to neighboring St. Paul, where dozens of businesses are damaged and burned.
May 29 — Chauvin is arrested and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter. Walz says the state will take over the response to the unrest, and Frey sets a nighttime curfew for the weekend. President Donald Trump tweets about “thugs” in Minneapolis protests and warns: “When the looting starts, the shooting starts.” Protests in Minneapolis become violent again, and demonstrations spread to Phoenix, Denver, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Houston, New York, Atlanta and beyond, with some becoming violent.
May 30 — Trump tries to walk back his tweet about looting, while Joe Biden speaks about systemic racism. Tens of thousands of people protest in cities from New York to Tulsa to Los Angeles, with police cars set ablaze and reports of injuries. Protesters set fires inside Reno’s city hall. One person is killed in protests in Indianapolis. In Washington, the National Guard deploys outside the White House.
May 31 — Walz names Attorney General Keith Ellison to lead prosecutions in Floyd's death after activists express distrust of Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman and his office. Violent protests continue nationwide. Retailers such as Target, CVS, Apple and Walmart temporarily close stores or limit hours to curb damage. In Minneapolis, a tanker truck driver drives past barricades that had been set up to block off a highway and nearly hits a massive crowd of demonstrators; no protesters are injured.
June 1 — The county medical examiner classifies Floyd's death as a homicide and said his heart stopped as police restrained him and compressed his neck. The medical examiner says Floyd also suffered from heart disease and hypertension, and listed fentanyl intoxication and recent methamphetamine use as “other significant conditions" but does not list those factors under cause of death. Meanwhile, Floyd’s brother, Terrence Floyd, visits the site of his brother's arrest and pleads for calm in the streets. In Washington, Trump threatens to send the military to states that don't stamp out violent protests.
June 2 — Minnesota's Department of Human Rights launches a civil rights investigation into the Minneapolis Police Department in hopes of forcing widespread changes.
June 3 — Ellison files tougher charges against all four officers, including second-degree murder against Chauvin.
June 4 — The first of multiple funeral services for Floyd is held in Minneapolis, with a mural honoring him projected above his golden coffin and a eulogy by the Rev. Al Sharpton.
June 5 — Minneapolis bans chokeholds by police and requires bystanding officers to stop them.
June 6 — Frey is booed by protesters outside his home after saying he doesn’t support “full abolition” of the police department. Massive, peaceful protests happen nationwide to demand police reform. Services are held for Floyd in Raeford, North Carolina, near his birthplace.
June 7 — A majority of the Minneapolis City Council says they support dismantling the police department. The idea later stalls before the city charter commission, but sparks a national debate over police reform that spills into politics and reshapes fall campaigns. Floyd's body is returned to Houston, the city where he grew up, for funeral and burial.
June 8 — Thousand pay their respects to Floyd in Houston.
June 9 — Floyd is buried in Houston.
June 10 — Floyd's brother, Philonise Floyd, testifies before the House Judiciary Committee for changes in holding police officers accountable. Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo says he will withdraw from contracts with the police union. Walz calls a legislative special session to address police reform issues.
June 11 — Fourteen Minneapolis police officers sign an open letter condemning Chauvin's actions and say they're ready to back the chief's promised overhaul of the department. Walz and Democratic legislative leaders propose statewide police reforms, including banning chokeholds. Key Republicans say later they will block most of the changes.
June 14 — First resignations of police officers over Floyd's death and the city's response to protests become publicly known.
June 15 — Democrats who control the Minnesota House announce a $300 million economic aid proposal for businesses that were damaged or destroyed during the civil unrest.
June 16 — Trump signs an executive order to encourage better police practices and establish a database to track officers with a history of excessive use-of-force complaints. The Minnesota Board of Peace Officer Standards and Training says it will review the licenses of the officers charged in Floyd's death.
June 23 — Arradondo, the Minneapolis chief, calls Floyd's death “murder” and says Chauvin knew what he was doing because he was trained in the dangers of positional asphyxiation.
June 28 — Frey and Arradondo announce policy changes, including one that prevents officers involved in using deadly force from reviewing body camera footage before completing an initial police report. Other changes follow in the summer and fall, including requiring officers to document attempts to de-escalate situations and changes to no-knock warrant procedure.
July 1 — The Republican-controlled Minnesota Senate opens hearings on the unrest that followed Floyd's death, focusing on the destruction and police response. Democrats criticize them for not instead focusing on issues of racism and policing.
July 8 — Court makes transcripts of body camera videos public that show Chauvin telling Floyd: “It takes a heck of a lot of oxygen to talk.”
July 10 — Minneapolis attorney announces more than 150 Minneapolis police officers are filing work-related disability claims, with most citing post-traumatic stress disorder.
July 15 — Floyd’s family sues the city of Minneapolis and the four former officers charged in his death, alleging the officers violated Floyd’s rights when they restrained him, and that the city allowed a culture of excessive force, racism and impunity to flourish in its police force. Body-camera footage made public from two Minneapolis police officers show a panicked and fearful Floyd pleading with the officers in the minutes before his death, saying “I’m not a bad guy!” as they tried to wrestle him into a squad car.
July 20 — Organizers say at least 20,000 workers in 160 cities walked off the job as a national coalition of labor unions and racial and social justice organizations stage a mass walkout from work, dubbed “Strike for Black Lives." Minneapolis authorities find a burned body in the ruins of a Minneapolis pawn shop that burned during the unrest following Floyd's death.
July 21 — Minnesota Legislature passes a broad slate of police accountability measures that includes a ban on neck restraints, a ban on chokeholds and so-called warrior-style training, and requires officers to stop colleagues who use excessive force. Walz later signs it.
Aug. 10 — Police body camera video is made public.
Aug. 17 — Trump visits Mankato, Minnesota, to tout law-and-order message.
Aug. 26 — Minneapolis Police Department announces overhaul of use-of-force policy to require officers to consider all reasonable alternatives before engaging in deadly force and use the least amount of force necessary. Minnesota's National Guard is activated to quell unrest sparked by misinformation about a Black man's suicide.
Sept. 23 — Protesters in Portland hurl firebombs at officers in the most violent night of four months of protests in the Oregon city following Floyd's death.
Sept. 24 — Vice President Mike Pence and Ivanka Trump bring Trump’s law-and-order campaign message to Minneapolis, hosting a listening session with a “Cops for Trump” group and stopping at a salon damaged in unrest.
Oct. 7 — Chauvin posts $1 million bond and is released from prison, sparking more protests.
Nov. 5 — District Judge Peter Cahill rejects defense requests to move the officers' trials; takes rare step of allowing cameras in a Minnesota courtroom, citing the coronavirus pandemic.
Nov. 13 — Minneapolis City Council approves $500,000 to bring in outside police officers to help fill a staffing shortfall.
Dec. 10 — Minneapolis City Council approves a budget shifting $8 million from the police department toward violence prevention and other programs, but declines to cap the department’s staffing.
Jan. 12, 2021 — Cahill rules Chauvin will be tried alone due to courtroom capacity issues. The other officers will be tried in August.
Feb. 1 — Frey and Arradondo announce that officers will no longer be allowed to turn off their body cameras to talk privately when they respond to calls.
Feb. 2 — A Minnesota judge approves a divorce settlement between Chauvin and his wife, citing concern that the divorce might be aimed at shielding assets.
Feb. 5 — Walz authorizes the Minnesota National Guard to deploy for potential civil unrest during Chauvin's trial.
Feb. 12 — City leaders say George Floyd Square, the intersection blocked by barricades since Floyd's death, will reopen to traffic after Chauvin's trial. Minneapolis City Council approves $6.4 million to hire dozens of police officers.
Feb. 17 — City leaders and public safety officials announce beefed up security plan for Chauvin trial, which includes National Guard troops and hundreds of additional officers.
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