Maryland

Prince George’s Officer Indicted in Shooting Death of Handcuffed Suspect

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A Prince George's County police officer was indicted Thursday on charges that he killed a handcuffed man in his custody after a traffic stop in January.

Cpl. Michael Owen Jr. killed William Howard Green in Temple Hills on Jan. 27, prosecutors say. Green was 43.

A county grand jury indicted Owen on charges of second-degree murder, manslaughter, assault, use of a handgun and misconduct in office, top prosecutor Aisha Braveboy said at a news conference Thursday afternoon. She promised a fair trial.

She said an investigation revealed that Green was under the influence of a drug and that there was "movement" in Owen's police cruiser before the shooting.

Preliminary information indicates that Green "did have PCP in his system," Braveboy said.

She declined to characterize exactly what may have happened before Owen opened fire, and declined to comment on a possible motive.

Green was handcuffed when he was shot but did not have a seat belt on, the prosecutor said. County police had initially said that Green was wearing a seat belt.

A judge denied Prince George's County Police Cpl. Michael Owen's request to be released, saying he remains a threat to the community. Owen, accused of shooting and killing William Green while he was handcuffed in his cruiser, was surrounded by supporters in court. Owen's father tells News4's Tracee Wilkins his son "hates the position that he's in."

Police said they received a call about a traffic accident near St. Barnabas Road and Winston Street in Temple Hills at about 7:20 p.m. Jan. 27. Witnesses had told Owen and another officer that a man had struck their vehicles.

Officers found the suspected driver, Green, asleep in his car nearby. The believed he was under the influence. They removed him from his car, handcuffed him behind his back and put him in the front passenger seat of Owen's cruiser as they waited for a drug-recognition expert to arrive. Owen sat in the driver's seat next to Green.

Owen then fired his gun seven times, striking Green multiple times, court documents say. A witness said he went to the cruiser and saw Green handcuffed in the passenger's seat and suffering from gunshot wounds, the documents say.

Video obtained by News4 shows officers dragging Green out of the squad car with his hands still cuffed behind his back.

Officers tried to save Green's life, police said. The handcuffs were removed when paramedics arrived.

Green was a "family man" who was close with his son and daughter, his loved ones said at a news conference. He worked for Megabus and was set to get promoted the day after he was killed, his fiancée said.

Stay with News4 for more details on this developing story.

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