Hyattsville won’t share video from fatal police shooting

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Michael Theis/Route 1 Reporter

A Hyattsville City Police Department vehicle sits outside of Hyattsville City Hall.

Hyattsville officials now say they cannot yet share with Mount Rainier officials body camera footage its officers recorded during the events that led to the fatal 2019 police shooting of Leonard Shand. 

In a statement read during Hyattsville’s Jan. 21, 2020, City Council meeting, City Administrator Tracey Douglas said she had been advised against releasing additional information on the incident until after Prince George’s County police completed its investigation into the shooting.

Douglas’ statement was a response to a Jan. 6, 2020, request from Mount Rainier City Councilor Scott Cecil to see video from Hyattsville police officers on the scene of Shand’s death. Shand, 49, died after 11 officers, including six from Hyattsville, opened fire him at the end of a half-hour early-morning walking standoff that started Sept. 27, 2019, in Hyattsville near Belcrest Road and East-West Highway.

“I have been advised that releasing information related to the incident may compromise the investigation being conducted by the county and that it should be left to that agency – the county – to determine what information it shares and does not share at this particular time,” said Douglas.

Douglas also addressed earlier decisions by city officials to screen body camera video depicting the shooting to City Council members and non-city personnel, including the president of the Prince George’s County NAACP. 

“Questions were raised as to why the city of Hyattsville Council members and other community stakeholders were shown the city police video in the immediate aftermath of the incident,” said Douglas. “The simple answer is that at that time, public safety considerations weighed in favor of doing so. At present, those public safety considerations no longer exist and they are secondary to the city’s obligation to protect the integrity of the investigation being conducted by the Prince George’s County Police Department.”

Douglas concluded her statement saying “the city will release information related to the incident in response to requests for the same and any such release will be in accordance with the law and will take into consideration the sensitive nature of the information being released.”

Route 1 Reporter is a subscriber-supported local news website. However, in the service of the public discourse, coverage relating to Leonard Shand’s death is being kept outside of the paywall.

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