By Stephen S. Janis
Special to the AFRO

A Prince George’s County police officer has been charged with second degree murder for shooting a handcuffed man seven times.  Corporal Michael Owen was also charged with voluntary and involuntary manslaughter, first degree assault and use of a firearm in a crime of violence for shooting the man identified as William Green while he was sitting in front of a patrol car.  

The charges were announced Jan. 28 by Prince George’s Police Chief Henry P. Stawinski, who said that Owen was already in custody and expected to have a bail hearing the following day.

Unclear witness reports and lack of body camera leaves many to wonder what happened. (Courtesy photo)

“This is the most difficult moment of my tenure,” Stawinski said. 

“I am unable to tell the community and provide a reasonable explanation of the events that occurred last night.”

The shooting occurred Jan. 27 when Owen detained Green, who was sitting in a parked car in Silver Hill, Md. Owen was responding to a call alleging Green had struck another parked vehicle.  

Police say Green was in handcuffs and sitting in the front passenger seat of the patrol car awaiting a drug screening.  Owen then shot Green seven times. 

Initially witnesses had reported a struggle between the two men. But the police say that account has not been corroborated.  

Officials did not provide any details of what prompted Owen to shoot Green.

Corporal Owen was not wearing a body camera at the time of the shooting. Currently the department issues body cameras to a small fraction of the department’s roughly 1500 police officers. 

Both the officer and the victim are African American.