Mt. Rainier promotes from within for police chief job

Mount Rainier went local with its new police chief, hiring interim Chief Linwood Alston for the role, city officials announced March 31. Alston’s permanent appointment fills a vacancy left by the departure of former city top cop Anthony Morgan, who resigned in February to take a new job as the chief of police for Humboldt State University in California. 

Reaction: Hyattsville chief resigns for Anne Arundel

Less than two years after being sworn in, Hyattsville’s Police Chief Amal Awad announced she will resign in December to be the chief of police in Anne Arundel County. 

“Leaving Hyattsville is bittersweet,” said Awad during a press conference announcing her appointment to the Anne Arundel County chief’s job. “I’m fervently thankful to the city of Hyattsville for allowing me to serve as their chief of police.”

“Chief Awad has demonstrated extraordinary leadership, depth of knowledge, professionalism, and grace in her service to the City of Hyattsville over the past three years,” said Mayor Candace Hollingsworth, who also recently announced her own resignation, in a statement. “I was only able to work with her for a short time, but she deserves a lot of credit for the direction of the department and I am excited for her and for the opportunities that are coming her way,” said Hyattsville City Councilor Daniel Peabody. “I will very much miss working with her in the city of Hyattsville.”

“During her time as Hyattsville chief, Awad modernized her department, won the respect of her officers and her community and worked through the challenges faced by police departments across the country,” Said Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman. “She is a peacemaker and a consummate professional.”

Awad was sworn in as Hyattsville’s police chief Dec.

Opinion: Hyattsville statement on police custody death falls short of transparency

Last week, a suspected bicycle thief died after being arrested by officers from the Hyattsville police department. But the first statement issued by Hyattsville officials on the incident lacked crucial details and showed the city still lacks the candor necessary in a new era of police accountability. The statement released by Hyattsville officials was misleading, if not outright deceptive, in its omission of details on the incident. It read that the suspect, a 29-year-old Mount Rainier man named Edwin Morales, “fell” three times during a brief pursuit with Hyattsville officers. After he was caught and placed in handcuffs, the statement says Hyattsville police called an ambulance to treat Morales for “suspected unknown drug intoxication.” Afterwards, Morales went unresponsive, and the statement says “officers immediately unhandcuffed him and began CPR.”

But, thanks to journalists at WJLA, we know that’s not the entire story.

Hyattsville opens administrative investigation into Shand shooting

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.

Report criticizes police actions in Shand killing

An outside investigation into the fatal police shooting of Leonard Shand found major problems with how police handled the events leading up to Shand’s death, while deeming the shooting itself to be “consistent with accepted standards of police practices.” The full 40-page report is embedded below this article and can be downloaded here. The report was prepared by Powers Consulting Group’s Tyrone Powers, a former FBI agent hired as an outside consultant to review the incident and make recommendations. Powers was on hand to explain the findings of the report during a Sept. 10, 2020, press conference where Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Aisha Braveboy revealed a grand jury had declined to bring charges against anyone over the incident.

No charges for officers who killed Leonard Shand

Upper Marlboro – A Prince George’s County grand jury has declined to indict any of the police officers who killed Leonard Shand after a half-hour standoff in Hyattsville last year. The announcement was made by Prince George’s County States Attorney Aisha Braveboy during a Sept. 10, 2020, news conference. A report on the incident prepared by an outside use-of-force expert, Baltimore resident and former FBI agent Tyrone Powers, came to the conclusion that Shand’s killing was ultimately justified because he posed a potentially lethal threat to officers. But Powers said the report made several critiques of the police response on the day Shand was killed.