County losing trust in law enforcement
Gazette, 12 Aug 2008 (Valentine).
Saying that Prince George's County police and corrections officers have cast "a cloud over this county," the head of the county NAACP called this week for investigators to speak out and update the six-week-old probe into the death of a suspected police killer at the county jail.
"People are losing the trust they had in the county government," said June White Dillard, president of the county chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People at a Tuesday press conference. "The longer it takes, the more people will begin to suspect that people are trying to back away."
Dillard and other group members called for the state medical examiner to release a final report about the death of Ronnie White, a 19-year-old who was found dead in his solitary cell in the Upper Marlboro jail on June 29.
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Dillard also said the July 29 law enforcement raid of Berwyn Heights Mayor Cheye Calvo's home has further tainted the county's reputation. After tracking a package of marijuana to Calvo's house, deputies obtained a search warrant and entered the building without knocking, shooting and killing his two Labrador retriever dogs.
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NAACP Official Faults Pr. George's for Silence on Jail Death
Post, 12 Aug 2008 (Davis).
The head of the local chapter of the NAACP said today that six weeks of silence by law enforcement agencies investigating the death of Ronnie L. White in a Prince George's County jail is undermining the credibility of county government and its corrections agency.Questions: Is NAACP chapter president June White Dillard saying that she will refuse to believe the medical examiner's report if it does not say what she wants? Has she examined the body? Is she medically qualified to determine the cause of death?
"While this investigation is taking so long, people are losing the trust that they had in the county government and it is a very big, heavy cloud not only on the correctional officers . . . but on the county," said June White Dillard, president of the Prince George's County Branch of the NAACP. "The longer it takes, people will begin to suspect that . . . the county government is trying to do a cover up, and that is not what we want to happen."
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White Dillard also addressed an assertion made by the correctional officers union that White may have committed suicide.
"There was no way that we can consider, none of us will consider, that there was a suicide by Mr. White while he was in the custody of the correctional officers."
Inmate's family presses state on probe
Times, 13 Aug 2008 (LoBianc)
The family of an inmate found dead in his Prince George's jail cell in June asked state and county investigators Tuesday to hand control of the probe to federal investigators.
"They are extremely disappointed with the investigation so far," said Bobby G. Henry Jr., a lawyer for the family of Ronnie L. White. Mr. White, 19, was found dead in his jail cell June 29, shortly after he was arrested on charges of murdering a Prince George's police officer.
The Maryland State Police and the FBI Civil Rights department took control of the probe at the request of Prince George's County Executive Jack B. Johnson last month, but have issued little information since then.
"I believe that it is becoming abundantly clear this investigation is above and beyond the resources in Prince George's County and the Maryland State Police and that the Department of Justice and the FBI need to immediately take full responsibility for this investigation and prosecution," Mr. Henry told The Washington Times on Tuesday.
A state police spokeswoman said the investigation is still ongoing and declined to comment Tuesday.
The Chief Medical Examiner's office has not completed its autopsy of Mr. White and the report could take as long as another week, said Ramon Korionoff, a spokesman for Prince George's County State's Attorney Glenn F. Ivey, who is participating in the investigation.
Mr. Korionoff said he could not comment on the investigation because it is ongoing.
Mr. White was arrested June 28 and charged in the death of Cpl. Richard S. Findley. Cpl. Findley, a 10-year veteran of the Prince George's police was dragged to death during a traffic stop. Police arrested Mr. White shortly afterward.
Mr. White was found dead in his jail cell 36 hours after he was arrested. Corrections officers with access to Mr. White at the time of his death initially declined to cooperate with investigators, but were prodded by county officials to submit to interviews.
A preliminary autopsy done by the medical examiner's office showed two small bones in Mr. White's neck broken, indicating strangulation. An attorney for the correctional officers union, however, has said Mr. White was not the victim of a homicide and likely committed suicide.