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On Tuesday, October 1, Mayor Candace Hollingsworth, Chief of Police Amal Awad, and City Administrator, Tracey Nicholson-Douglas along with City Council members invited residents to join them for a Community Meeting at University Christian Church to discuss the officer-involved shooting that occurred on Thursday, September 26. The meeting was intended to create a space for residents and the community to hear from City officials, ask questions, voice concerns and talk openly about the process and next steps. Attendees were provided index cards to capture their questions, comments, and concerns.
There were over 170 participants which included community leaders, residents, and journalists. Representatives from the Community Chaplains group were also present to support attendees as needed throughout the meeting.
Reverend Nathan Hill, leader of the University Christian Church opened the meeting by offering a moment of silence for Mr. Shand, his family, and the community.
Mayor Hollingsworth then thanked attendees for their presence, and reminded the community that this was a difficult and painful time for all of us. She explained that "no one was okay", but that it was our responsibility as City leaders to come before our community to provide an update on what we know and allow them to ask questions, comment, and express their thoughts, surrounding the loss of Mr. Shand's life and the events that led up to it.
Chief Amal Awad then gave an overview of the agencies involved, their responsibilities, and the information available to us at this time. She discussed the initial call for service which cited that a man that had previously attacked an employee at a coffee shop had returned. Upon arrival, the first officer on the scene called for back-up stating the subject, who we now know to be Mr. Shand had a knife. Back-up was also needed because it was rush hour with school children and pedestrians and vehicles in the area. Additional Hyattsville officers arrived on the scene and began to use verbal communication to de-escalate the situation. Other officers assisted with ensuring the safety of students and residents. When verbal de-escalation efforts were unsuccessful, officers used tasers, a beanbag shotgun, and a flash bang device in an effort to disorient and disarm Mr. Shand. The engagement ended after approximately 26 minutes when Mr. Shand was shot as he ran towards an unarmed officer with knives drawn. Chief Awad informed attendees that the investigation is ongoing, and more information would be released after the investigation is concluded.
Throughout the meeting, Mayor Hollingsworth and Chief Awad responded to questions regarding the status of the officers involved, training of officers to respond to individuals experiencing mental health crisis, use of mental health professionals, full-scale scenario-based training, de-escalation methods, excessive use of force, shooting to wound vs. shooting center mass, methods to ensure public safety during the incident, the investigation, accountability and rebuilding community trust, and the next steps for the Hyattsville Police Department and the City of Hyattsville. The City and the police department are committed to obtaining the facts, examining existing policies, and exploring additional training opportunities on mental health and de-escalation techniques.
At the conclusion of the meeting, Mayor Hollingsworth informed attendees that at least one follow-up meeting will be scheduled to update residents on the findings of the investigation and to address specific recommendations to reform current practices. Mayor Hollingsworth has directed that all policy and procedure recommendations be referred to a joint task force of the City of Hyattsville’s Police and Public Safety Advisory Committee and Race and Equity Task Force for additional input.
If you have questions or concerns, please email Mayor Hollingsworth at email@example.com. To view the statement released regarding the September 26 shooting, please visit www.hyattsville.org.