Maryland officers cleared after killing man who pointed gun at them
“I can’t go back to jail,” he told two other people in the car, according to the report. “I love you.”
Sesay then opened his door, turned to officers, and lifted a .45 caliber Glock pistol fitted with a device designed to turn it into a fully automatic weapon, the report claims. It is unclear whether he fired the pistol, which after the encounter was found near his body with a live ammunition wedged between the pistol’s frame and slide, and eight other rounds in the magazine.
At least two Montgomery County police video recordings of the Dec. 29 encounter — one from a police car dashboard, the other from a body camera — captured Sesay raising his gun.
“There’s no question that Mr. Sesay pointed a gun at them because he’s being filmed,” Howard State’s attorney Rich Gibson said. “When someone points a gun at police officers, they certainly have the right to believe that their life is in danger and have the right to use what they consider to be a corresponding level of force.”
Michael Ashley, a lawyer for Sesay’s family, said they remain devastated by the death of a young man who had just launched a clothing line called ‘Children of the Trenches’, designed to raise awareness of poverty among young people. in the world.
The family remain concerned about the police handling of the entire incident, Ashley said, including any delay in their coming to check on Sesay after she fell on the sidewalk.
“Our concerns don’t necessarily end with the use of force,” Ashley said. “The officers had a duty to provide assistance.”
He declined to speak in detail, saying he had not yet received the full investigation file – including all video recordings captured by officers at the scene.
Several agencies were involved in the incident and the ensuing investigation.
The shooters were from the Montgomery County Police Department, the primary law enforcement force in a 1.1 jurisdiction. million residents just north of Washington, D.C. They had stopped the Mercedes because they believed it had just been involved in another shooting half a mile away.
The investigation into the officers’ actions was led by a relatively new unit of the Maryland Attorney General’s Office that began investigating the deaths of officers involved in the state. His 18-page report was submitted to the office in Gibson, just north of Montgomery County, based on an agreement between county prosecutors to review fatal shootings involving officers.
Evidence at the scene showed at least 34 shell casings from the officers’ guns. An autopsy of Sesay’s body showed he had been hit three times – with bullets entering his arm, lower back and buttocks. Gibson pointed out that Sesay’s back injuries should be seen in the context of his actions – in particular, that he pointed his gun as he turned away from the police and they began firing.
How many people have been shot dead by the police in the past year?
“It’s all separated by milliseconds, fractions of seconds,” Gibson said.
The Attorney General’s report describes a shooting that preceded the traffic stop. Around 4:25 a.m., a gunshot erupted amid a large crowd outside a restaurant on Bonifant Street in downtown Silver Spring. In fact, an off-duty Montgomery County detective was in the immediate area because he had stopped for food.
The detective had the victim sit on the ground and scanned the crowd, learning that the shooter was in a white Mercedes which the detective saw driving away. He radioed a description of the car.
A minute later, officer Nathan Lenhart – who was involved in another traffic stop – saw a white Mercedes pass him. He followed the Mercedes and parked it near the corner of Wayne and Dartmouth avenues.
As more officers arrived, Lenhart ordered the driver and front passenger to raise their hands through their open windows, according to police videos. Sesay then began to open his rear passenger door.
“Stay in the car! an officer screamed as he continued to walk out, records show.
After the four officers fired, they remained concerned about the other two occupants of the car. When they ordered the driver out, he said the door was jammed, so they ordered him out the window and back towards them, which he did. The other three officers who fired their weapons were identified earlier as Karli Dorsey, Dennis Tejada and Eric Kessler.
Around this time, an officer who could see Sesay’s body saw movement. “His hand is moving,” the officer said, according to the report.
The passenger was also removed from the car. At 4.39am – about seven minutes after shooting him – officers approached Sesay, who was lying face down near a pool of blood in front of the Mercedes. An officer tried to take his pulse. “I have nothing,” he said.
Investigators from the attorney general’s office investigated whether the officers waited too long to approach Sesay and whether they may have been subject to misconduct in office charges, the report said.
But they noted that the police, immediately after the shooting, called the paramedics. Then, “any delay in officers physically getting to Mr. Sesay was reasonable,” the report concluded, “because officers had to remove other occupants from the car and otherwise secure the scene in order to ensure the safety of officers and the surrounding community.”
Lee Holland, president of the Montgomery County police union, FOP Lodge 35, said officers responded as they trained and noted Sesay’s pistol was modified to fire like a machine gun.
“The investigation concluded that the events of that night, had the weapon operated as intended, could have resulted in serious injury or death to these officers and/or innocent bystanders,” Holland said. “Although these officers are cleared of potential criminal charges, it is an event they must live with for the rest of their lives.”