Protesting the re-instatement of six city police officers who shot and killed Leonard Shand in September 2019, police reform activists staged a drive-in demonstration in front of Hyattsville’s City Administration Building on Gallatin Street May 4, 2020. The event later prompted Hyattsville City Administrator Tracey Dougals to reveal city officials reviewed the events surrounding Shand’s death and found no violations of internal policies.
“Preliminarily, the [city police] command staff conducted an executive review of the unfortunate death of Mr. Shand and determined that the actions were consistent with departmental policy,” said Douglas during Hyattsville’s May 4, 2020 City Council meeting. “While I know that is of little comfort to the Shand family and friends, the chief made the decision to ensure that the residents had uninterrupted law enforcement services.”
Douglas also said the city has begun to research new technology and equipment that could be used when “non-lethal equipment is not as effective.” The comment is notable because, according to narratives put-forth by county and local police officials, Shand was shot after police tried several times to tase him early in the encounter, all unsuccessful.
“We are awaiting the results of the investigation to glean any knowledge or insight from that, but also in conducting our executive review we did look at the type of equipment that we did use and the type of equipment that we could potentially use in the future,” said Awad, following up on Douglas’ comments. The drive-in demonstration was organized by the group Community Justice, which has accused Prince George’s County law enforcement agencies of systematically aggressive policing of minorities and the poor.
Route 1 Reporter did not witness the event in person, but watched live-streamed videos from activists on the scene as they blocked entrances to the parking lot, honked horns, chanted slogans and made brief speeches excoriating city officials for their decision to re-instate the officers. Hyattsville officials announced mid-April six unnamed officers would be re-instated from administrative duty to full-time active duty to shore-up patrol staffing on the city police force during the coronavirus pandemic.