By Frederick H Lowe
Prince George’s County, Maryland, police have arrested an African American officer in the deadly shooting of a handcuffed black prisoner sitting inside a police cruiser.
Police charged Corporal Michael Owen, Jr., a 10-year department veteran, with second-degree murder, voluntary manslaughter, first degree assault and use of a firearm in the commission of a crime in the shooting death of William Howard Green.
Green, 43, a resident of Southeast, Washington, D.C., was shot to death January 27 in Temple Hills, Prince George’s County. Owen and an unnamed officer arrested and handcuffed Green and placed him in the front seat of the car next to Owen.
“A short time later, for reason that are now at the center of the investigation, Green was shot seven times,” police said. Owen’s service weapon was fired in the shooting.
“I have concluded that what happened last night was a crime,” Chief Henry P. Stawinski III of the Prince George’s County Police, said during a news conference.
Following the shooting Owen and the unnamed officer dragged Green’s handcuffed body from the front seat and applied medical aid before transporting him to the hospital where he died.
Owen followed the department’s directive, placing Green in the front seat.
The directive reads: “One officer may transport one arrestee, who will occupy the right front seat. For vehicles equipped with transport partitions, arrestees will occupy the right rear seat.”
Owen’s cruiser did not have a partition.
Owen and an unnamed officer arrested Green on January 27 after receiving a 911 call to respond to a traffic accident.
Witnesses told police Green’s car smashed into another vehicle. Police removed Green from his car.
Police believed Green was under the influence of an unknown substance. As they waited for a drug substance expert, police handcuffed Green and placed him in the front seat of Owen’s police cruiser. Owen got in on the driver’s side.
Judge Robert Heffron Jr. denied Owen bail.