Family of William Green reach $20 million settlement over fatal police shooting

Cpl. Michael Owen, Jr., the officer who shot a handcuffed Green, is facing charges for his death.

The family of a man who was allegedly shot to death by police while handcuffed has settled with Prince George’s County officials. 

The $20 million settlement represents the largest publicly known police brutality-related payout ever in the state of Maryland, according to the attorneys representing the family of William Green

The officer who shot Green, Cpl. Michael Owen, Jr., has been charged with second-degree murder. 

Cpl. Michael Owen, Jr., the Prince George’s County police officer who shot a handcuffed William Green, has been charged with second-degree murder. (Prince George’s County State’s Attorney’s Office)

According to local reports, Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks said that a preliminary investigation uncovered facts leading to the decision that Owen should face charges in connection with Green’s death after the officer fired seven shots, six of which struck Green. 

In January, Green was stopped by police who were responding to a report of an erratic driver. When investigators pulled the vehicle over, they allegedly detected the smell of PCP and detained the driver. 

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Early reports indicated that there was a tussle between Green and Owen in the police car’s backseat, but investigators found otherwise. 

A report from the Washington Post found that Owen, who is Black, had been involved in two other shootings, including another fatal shooting in 2011. 

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In an interview with Fox 5 DC, Green’s cousin, Nikki Owens, said that while the settlement won’t bring them justice, it will help the family while they await Owen’s trial. 

“This is like the day he died. So she relives this every time a George Floyd is killed. Every time a Breonna Taylor is killed. My aunt relieves this every single day,” Owens said. “His children’s living this every single day. So this judgement is necessary.”

Thomas Mooney, Owens’ attorney, said in a statement that his client awaits his day in court.

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“The pursuit of truth and the road to justice in the case of a police officer-involved shooting has typically been a long one. Historically in our country, and perhaps at this time more than ever, an objective, methodical, and sometimes necessarily-lengthy investigation has always preceded, and should always precede, the decision to bring criminal charges,” Mooney said. “In Officer Owen’s case, however, a ‘knee jerk’ reaction to pursue charges based on unsubstantiated or discounted facts and hastily-misguided assumptions has regrettably been the undeniable theme.”

The attorney noted that when the facts are revealed, “justice will prevail.” 

Officials say Prince George’s County will also be making strides toward police reform, including equipping officers with body-worn cameras by the end of the year. 

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