A Fatal Shooting
Prince William County Police shot and killed a 79-year-old man on Thursday, 10 December. Police stated that his wife called 911, saying the man was suicidal and armed with a handgun. The incident ended with five officers firing at the man. As a result, the man was fatally injured.
This shooting comes at a difficult time for Prince William County Police. Recently, the Washington, DC suburb hired DC Police Chief Peter Newsham as its new chief. Critics argue that Chief Newsham comes with a great deal of controversy. InsideNOVA, a local newspaper, reports that “Many pro-reform activists say Newsham resisted calls for more transparency within the district’s police department.”
In a statement that D.C. Councilmember Robert White, head of the public safety committee, called “dangerous,” Newsham reportedly told officers ““I think the most disheartening thing for me and maybe for some of you is that the city council forgot our history in this critical moment in our history. They completely abandoned us,” he said, according to Fox 5. “They forgot about our 20 years of reform, and they insulted us by insinuating that we were in an emergency need of reform… that somehow the Metropolitan Police Department would be involved in an act of murder like we saw in Minneapolis.” This statement came after the council banned chokeholds and pushed the release of police bodycams.
Questions about the future of the police department remain. Is Newsham the right man for the job of Prince William County Police Chief? Was the 79-year-old man’s death preventable? These questions remain, as of yet, unanswered.