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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Witnesses Dispute Police Account Of Fatal Prince George's Shooting

(Updated 27 Aug 2008)

Witnesses Dispute Police Account Of Fatal Prince George's Shooting.
Post, 19 Aug 2008 (Castaneda & Hohmann)
policeone.com, 19 Aug 2008 (Castaneda & Hohmann).
Prince George's County officials assured Latino leaders yesterday that police will fully investigate Saturday's fatal shooting of a Langley Park man by a county police officer, as two witnesses said the off-duty officer beat the unarmed man with a baton before firing a bullet into his torso.

The eyewitness statements contradict earlier accounts provided by police. Initially, police said that Manuel de Jesus Espina reached for Officer Steven Jackson's gun. On Sunday, a media statement said that Jackson feared for his life when Espina, 43, tried to grab the baton. Jackson used pepper spray before shooting Espina, according to the statement.

Yesterday, Elvia Rivera, 23, and her mother, Maria D. Gamez, 50, provided a dramatically different account.
. . . [Full story]
Not mentioned in the report: This was at least the sixth killing this year by Prince George's County Police, and the third in less than a month.
Also see: Espina, Manuel de Jesus, 43; Chris Nelson's map.


Community Concerned About Fatal Shooting By Off-Duty Officer.
nbc4.com, 19 Aug 2008
A community meeting was held Monday to address community members' concerns after an off-duty Prince George's County police officer fatally shot a man at an apartment complex Saturday.

County Council Member Will Campos, State Delegate Victor Ramirez, representatives of Casa de Maryland and other leaders participated in the meeting following the death of Manuel de Jesus Espina, 44. . . .[Full report]
Officer-Involved Shooting Concerns PG's Hispanic Community.
myfoxdc.com, 19 Aug 2008

Fatal Shooting Puts Latino Community on Edge; Action by Off-Duty Officer Could Undermine Trust in Police, Advocacy Group Says.
Post, 20 Aug 2008 (Hohmann)
Latino advocates initially argued for putting off-duty Prince George's police officers on patrol in crowded apartment complexes in Langley Park, but said yesterday that the practice could backfire if Saturday's fatal shooting undermines the community's trust in law enforcement. . . . [Full story]
Prince George's Police Involved in Another Scandal.
Free State Politics, 19 Aug 2008 (Eric Luedtke).
The police in Prince George's County are having a very, very bad summer. First, there was the apparent murder of accused cop-killer Ronnie White in a solitary cell correctional officers had access to. Then, there was the botched investigation of a drug smuggling ring that led to the raid on Cheye Calvo's home and the shooting of his two dogs. Now, a Prince George's police officer is being accused of spraying a latino man with pepper spray, beating him with a baton, and then shooting him point blank after the man grabbed for his baton. A startling overreaction, to say the least, if it's true.
Anyone know at what point someone steps in to investigate police departments with records this abysmal?
PGPD Hosts Community Meeting to Address Departmental Shooting.
Police, 19 Aug 2008 (Pacheo).
Prince George’s County, Maryland…Assistant Police Chief Roberto Hylton and Major Kevin Davis, Commander, District I, held a community meeting on Monday, August 18, 2008, to address the community concerns about the police-involved shooting that occurred on August 16, 2008, in the 8000 block of 14th Avenue. . . . [Full press release]
Go Home Already: At Least Tomorrow Is Hump Day.
dcist, 19 Aug 2008 (Aaron Morrissey).
. . . More questions about the policing in Prince George's County: Police say that officer Steven Jackson shot and killed Manuel de Jesus Espina, 43, when Espina forcibly tried to grab Jackson's handgun; eyewitnesses say that Jackson relentlessly beat Espina with his baton before shooting him in the chest while he lay bloodied on the floor. Jackson has been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation into the incident. [WaPo] . . .
Vigil Goers Look for Answers, Actions in Man's Police-involved Death.
wjla.com, 21 Aug 2008
Family, friends and neighbors are demanding answers after a man was gunned down by an off-duty police officer, during the victim's party in Langley Park.
* * *
The police department initially said the officer acted in self defense, but now they have no comment until an internal investigation is finished. Family members including the son, who was arrested while he was covered with his father's blood, claims they did not resist and his father didn't deserve to die.
* * * [Full story]
Family, friends remember Langley Park man as cheerful, upbeat;Community demands independent investigation into fatal shooting.
Gazette, 21 Aug 2008 (Noble).
. . . The Langley Park neighborhood has had a sordid relationship with police in the past. Two officers were convicted for violating the civil rights of Salvadoran immigrant Nelson Omar Robles when they tied him to a pole and left him there on Aug. 17, 1996. In 2001, an officer was convicted in federal court of violating the civil rights of a homeless Hispanic man for directing her dog to bite him during an arrest in 1995.

At the vigil, residents described more recent incidents of harassment. Speaking through an interpreter, Elizabeth Zuniga said in February she was threatened and detained by police for trespassing, but at the time she had been waiting at a bus stop.

"They see you like you are nothing," said Zuniga, of immigrants' treatment by local law enforcement. . . . [Full story]
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