Hyattsville opens administrative investigation into Shand shooting

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Michael Theis/Route 1 Reporter

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

Hyattsville police will be subject to a city investigation into the killing of Leonard Shand, according to City Administrator Tracey Douglas. During Hyattsville City Council’s Sept. 21, 2020, meeting, Douglass briefly discussed the matter, noting that a Prince George’s County grand jury declined to indict any of the officers involved in the Sept. 2019 incident. 

While the grand jury declined to indict, an outside investigation commissioned by the Prince George’s County State’s Attorney’s Office found many issues with the police response leading up to the moment officers opened fire. Despite that, the outside investigation said police were justified when they opened fire on Shand because he was armed with at least one knife and was lunging toward officers. 

During the meeting, Douglas said the report’s findings were being taken seriously by city officials. Among its findings, the report said the three-department police response to Shand was disorganized, it criticized the use of a flashbang grenade as unplanned, it said police failed to make use of an available crisis response team, and found that police attempts to communicate with Shand during the half-hour walking standoff were chaotic.

“The next steps at this point is to conduct an administrative investigation,” said Dougals. “We don’t have a timeline for that yet because we are still working with external agencies, but this does require an investigation into the officer actions by an independent agency.”

Douglas said once the investigation was completed, a report would be turned over to Hyattsville Chief of Police Amal Awad for review. Douglas emphasized the investigation is not criminal in nature. 

“There’ll be a lot of ways for the police to consider other actions that could be taken and things we should consider implementing,” said Douglas.

The recommendations in the county report include more thorough training around the proper use of flashbang grenades, more inter-agency training for Prince George’s County police departments to prepare for incidents where multiple police agencies respond, and suggested public safety “fusion center” to enhance inter-departmental coordination.

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