by: Cheyenne Corin
MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. (WDVM) — Four Montgomery County police officers who were involved in the fatal shooting of Ryan LeRoux will not face charges.
The shooting happened on July 16, 2021, when police responded to a call around 9:15 p.m. about a customer who wouldn’t pay for his food or leave the drive-thru. The first officer that arrived said he noticed a gun on the front passenger seat and called for backup. After negotiating with Leroux for 30 minutes, officers reported that Leroux pointed a gun and that’s when police fired.
Howard County Deputy state’s Attorney Chris Sandmann for 4 days presented all of the evidence to the grand jury including body camera footage, recorded interviews, and written statements. In the end, the jury decided the officers should not be charged and the shooting was legally justified.
“LeRoux can be observed raising his arm in some capacity and extending it in a locked manner, said Sandmann. “Unfortunately, the body-worn cameras did not catch in clarity exactly what Mr. Leroux had that day.”
Carlean Ponder the Co-Chair of the Silver Spring Justice Coalition calls the shooting of LeRoux an execution and was hoping the officers involved would be held accountable. But she says she, unfortunately, is not surprised by the decision.
“We still have a lot of work to do in this country where it is not seen as normal for officers to justify any amount of force against Black bodies because they fear, they say they fear,” said Ponder.
Following the shooting, LeRoux’s family shared he was experiencing mental health issues and needed help. On the day of the shooting, a crisis negotiator was on his way but arrived a minute too late.
“We have to acknowledge that just because they’re suffering from that mental health crisis doesn’t mean they’re not capable of being incredibly lethal to themselves and the people around them.
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