Police Officer Arrested for Murder After Shooting Handcuffed Man

Photo of Michael Owens
Cpl. Michael Owens

Prince George Maryland

Yesterday a Prince George’s County Police Officer shot and killed a handcuffed man he had placed in his patrol vehicle. Calls had come in to the police station saying that a man had rammed several cars. Officers arrived on the scene and Cpl. Michael Owen took William Green into custody, handcuffing him behind his back and placing him in the front seat of the police car.

From there things get murky. Some officers said when they first approached Green’s vehicle they thought they smelled PCP. Green was handcuffed the police claim he was seat belted in the front seat of the police cruiser. After the shooting, police said they had two witnesses who saw a struggle going on in the front seat of the car then heard loud bangs.

Police Chief Stawinski Corrects the Record

Today, the police chief of Prince George’s County Police Department, Henry P. Stawinski, corrected some of the errors in the initial release of information. In Chief Stawinski’s press release he said the following, “We do not believe PCP was involved, we do not have independent witnesses that observed a struggle and we do not know for certain that Mr. Green was seat-belted in that cruiser.” All kinds of conjecture comes out at the beginning of an incident. A person can say ‘probably this happened’ and in the confusion of a high drama scene the listener can hear it as if the speaker was saying that is what happened. Not that it MIGHT have been what happened.

What We Know Happened

Now that there has been time to evaluate what happened we can give these facts. William Green was taken into custody. He was handcuffed behind his back and placed in the front seat of the police car because the car did not have the partition to section off the back seat. Cpl. Michael Owen entered the car. For some reason, Cpl. Owen shot Mr. Green several times. Officers attempted lifesaving measures on Green then had him transported to the hospital. Green was pronounced dead at the hospital.

Cpl. Michael Owen, a 10-year veteran of the police department, was placed on administrative leave yesterday evening and was arrested this afternoon. He is being charged with second-degree murder, manslaughter and associated weapons charges. Cpl. Owen has been involved in two other shootings during his career, one of which was fatal.

Prince George’s County Police Department is in the process of getting body cams. Currently they have some but not all. Cpl. Owen was not issued a body cam. All PGPD officers will have body cams by the end of this year.

Information from WUSA9.com. See their article here.

What Real Leadership Looks Like

Chief Stawinski gave a statement in which he speaks about all the areas that were involved in investigating the incident then admits that there is no reasonable explanation. He then goes on to say he has determined it to have been a crime. See video below.

3 thoughts on “Police Officer Arrested for Murder After Shooting Handcuffed Man

  1. Melissa

    I know Mike Owens, we both attend the same bible study. He is one of the kindest & gentlest men I know. I pray to God that the truth is revealed and if, as I believe, he is innocent, he will be exonerated.

    Just because we can’t think of a logical explanation does not mean there isn’t one…perhaps they were both struggling to get control of Mike’s gun…?

    My heart and prayers also go out to the deceased man’s family. There are no winners here.

  2. Beth

    I find Chief Stawinski’s choice of words unprofessional and reckless. Cpl. Owens has not yet been given a fair trial and yet Chief Stawinski convicting tone displays judgement on a man whom we do not know yet what his reasons were for firing his weapon. This in turn, possibly ruining an innocent man’s career and also recklessly, splitting communities in half. They brought charges on a man at the blink of an eye without a full and lengthy investigation. They failed to mention the full dynamic behind the defendant’s prior shootings.
    In my personal opinion, I believe Cpl. Owen’s is a victim himself. I am a strong believer that the closer you are to God, the harder the devil works. It frightens me to know that the department is willing to charge this man as fast as they did and then choose to go publicly and comment that what Cpl. Owens did is in deed a crime, where is the full investigation into telling us that this was not self defense? The department knows the criminal history of those involved in these incidents and yet to save themselves from from public criticism, would rather publicly convict a man who has not been given a chance to a fair trial.
    I hope the next time the department holds a news conference, they choose unbiased words and tones. It scares me to imagine how his choice of words in convicting this man before a trial can split different communities. The violence that his words may bring on other officers, rage between different races.
    It’s always easier to go after an easy target. How does a man crash his vehicle into several cars and then doesn’t even bother to leave the area or check on the damage he causes and instead seems to go unconscious? Clearly he may have been under the influence of something. There is no reason for Owen to fire so many times if there hadn’t been a struggle. If you Google videos of what people whom are intoxicated and/or handcuffed are still capable of doing, you’d be shocked. How many officers who did not pull their service weapons were critically hurt or killed during an arrest?
    I see a department that has been in the public eye trying to save themselves. Recklessly condemning this man publicly resulting in violence between communities differing opinions. Our children are watching these news conferences, they talk about these topics. If you must jump to charging a man and have to announce it to the media, please don’t convict him on national tv, isn’t that what courtrooms are for? There is enough violence in our communities. I pray for Green and Owens. These officers aren’t trained to respond to a call with hugs and kind words, they are trained to protect our communities and make it home at the end of their day. We have mass shootings going on and yet these officers are expected to respond and put their lives at risk, keeping in mind not to cause any harm the assailant, to treat them with TLC? Harm a single hair on them and they risk their jobs and their freedom? It makes absolutely no sense. I do not in any way support violence, I do not agree with police brutality, but I clearly see a situation here that is reckless on the departments behalf. He should be granted a fair investigation before changing him. Who said he fired all the shots? We don’t know what happened. Personally, I believe this man may just be innocent and wrongfully thrown into the wolves to save the face of the dept, I cannot say I know for a fact that Owens is guilty or innocent, simply because I was not there. As a person in a leadership role, I would have more respect and sense than to say he commuted a crime before a full investigation is completed.

    Although my gut feeling & heart tells me that Owens may have had justifiable reason to shoot. Even if I believed he was guilty, would never publicly convict a man without all facts, especially holding higher position. It’s discouraging and disappointing how their bias attitudes at the news conferences can possibly split and destroy communities. Please give this man a fair chance, if he is innocent (which I believe he is) don’t use him to save in an attempt to save reputation.

    That man has God’s love in his eyes. It’s sad enough that one life was lost already, I believe Owens must of felt his life was in danger, possibly the lives of the people outside the cruiser and responded accordingly. If he is innocent of this crime, the department owes Owens and the the public an apology. He is innocent until proven guilty, the same rule that we expect for ourselves, should be applied to all. I pray these charges are dropped,. I have never met Owens but I strongly believe he may just be innocent of any wrong doing. in spite of all the recent charges against several officers, I have always held a high level of respect for law enforcement, after this the department has lost and will lose lot of supporters and believers in the justice system. If this man is convicted for trying to save his own life, I lose a large amount of faith in PGCPD. Criminals, intoxicated criminals, handcuffed or not are not thinking of our safety or sparing our lives when committing crimes. The strength of a man on drugs is unbelievably strong.

    This is what these officers are not paid enough to handle and protect us from. If something goes wrong responding to a situation like these, we are quick to lock them up without fair hearing? Those growing up wanting to become police officers will gladly sign up for the job after seeing how an employer turns their back on one of their own so quickly without providing him a fair investigation. Discouraging

    What happened in that car that caused Owens to defend himself the way that he did? Did green find some something in the car which made Owens fear for his life. What if Green shot Owens and then took off with his weapon??

    I don’t buy the whole he was handcuffed and there for he would have been no possible threat. There are many cases of handcuffed people still capable to assault.

    This case needs a full, unbiased investigation before wrongfully condemning Cpl. Owens. I pray his faith isn’t tested and I pray for Green and for forgiveness to those who need forgiveness in this incident.

    PGCPD Please don’t cause hate crimes between communities for your lack of better words.
    I agree, there ARE no winners here

    • admin

      Beth – We posted your comment however we removed the link you added. You explained what you were saying well enough and we prefer not to have the added link. We don’t feel losing it took anything away from your statement.

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