An officer in Maryland is facing a second-degree murder charge after allegedly shooting a man who was handcuffed and sitting in the front seat of a police car. The incident took place in a suburb of Washington D.C. on Monday. Police were responding to a 911 call about a driver who had hit multiple cars, said Christina Cotterman, a spokeswoman for Prince George’s County Police Department, per USA Today.
When officers approached the man, they believed he smelled like PCP, so they handcuffed him, put him in the front passenger seat of the cruiser, and buckled his seat belt as they called in a drug recognition expert.
Authorities said it was standard practice for officers to place a suspect in the front passenger seat of a police car. Then, when an officer entered the driver’s seat of the car, he fired his gun multiple times.
“Two independent witnesses tell our investigators that they see a struggle or hear a struggle of some sort coming from the cruiser, and they hear loud bangs,” Cotterman said. Officers attempted to save the handcuffed man’s life, but he died in the hospital.
Later, it was announced that Corporal Michael Owen, a police officer with Prince George’s County police, had been charged with manslaughter, second-degree murder, and associated weapons charges in the killing of William Green. He reportedly shot Green 7 times, but it’s unclear what the motive was.
“I have concluded that what happened last night is a crime,” Police Chief Hank Stawinski said. There was no “reasonable explanation” for the events, he added. The investigation is still on going.