A Maryland police chief has provided details at a news conference three days after officers fatally shot a 21-year-old man outside a McDonald’s restaurant during an armed standoffBy TOM FOREMAN Jr. Associated PressJuly 19, 2021, 11:30 PM• 3 min readShare to FacebookShare to TwitterEmail this articleThree days after a 21-year-old man was fatally shot by police officers outside of a McDonald’s restaurant, a Maryland police chief provided details on Monday about the “armed standoff,” but did not say what prompted officers to kill the suspect.Friday’s incident outside the fast food restaurant ended with “a show of force” before a negotiator could reach the scene, Montgomery County Police Chief Marcus Jones told reporters.Jones said the department’s hearts are with the family of the victim, Ryan Leroux of Gaithersburg, as well as the police officers who responded to the call.A spokesperson for the police department didn’t immediately respond to a request to identify the races of the officers and the victim.According to Jones, dispatchers received a trespassing call in which a customer ordered food, refused to pay for it and didn’t move his SUV from the drive-thru lane. A uniformed officer responded to the call and observed a handgun in the driver’s lap, Jones said. The officer ordered Leroux at gunpoint to get out of the vehicle and radioed for backup, the chief said.The McDonald’s was evacuated, Jones said, adding that officers attempted to negotiate with Leroux for approximately 30 minutes. A negotiator was called as officers formulated a plan to arrest Leroux peacefully, according to the chief.“A sergeant on scene spoke with Mr. Leroux on his cellphone and tried to convince him to exit the vehicle in a safe manner,” Jones said. “However, he was not cooperative.”Before a negotiator arrives, Jones said, “there was a use of force.” He didn’t describe what led to shots being fired by police officers. He said several officers tended to Leroux until emergency personnel could arrive. Leroux was taken to a local hospital, where he died, Jones said. A loaded Glock 47 was recovered from the scene, according to the chief.The Leroux family was offered the chance to see the video from the body-worn cameras, and Jones said they accepted, but he added that the video wouldn’t tell the entire story.“Body-worn cameras are a helpful tool, but they do not replace the human eye and what the officers actually saw,” he said, noting that County Executive Marc Elrich has also seen the video.“When you get to see the video, no one would have expected this outcome from the way the video began,” Elrich said. “It makes it all the more tragic.”One phone number listed for the Leroux family was not in service and no one responded immediately to a request for comment at a second number.The four officers involved in the incident, who Jones said had a combined 58 years of experience, have been placed on administrative leave as an investigation begins. The Howard County State’s Attorney’s Office will conduct the investigation under an agreement with its counterpart in Montgomery County which calls for one county to conduct such investigations for the other county.Members of the Silver Spring Justice Coalition planned to attend the news conference to demand full transparency, the resignation of department leadership and “redoubled efforts for genuine police reform,” according to a statement from the group.The group, which was formed after an officer fatally shot a Black man in neighboring Silver Spring in 2018, called for police to release details of what led to the shooting, including what actions were taken to de-escalate the situation.“Time and time again SSJC has witnessed a failure of MCPD to hold itself accountable, show transparency, and transform its culture of violence.” the group said.
Trustees at the flagship school of North Carolina’s public university system are holding a special meeting during which they’re expected to vote on the issue of tenure for investigative journalist Nikole Hannah-JonesBy TOM FOREMAN Jr. Associated PressJune 30, 2021, 5:10 AM• 3 min readShare to FacebookShare to TwitterEmail this articleWINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Weeks of tension over the hiring of investigative journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill will now come down to a decision from the school’s board of trustees on whether to offer her tenure.The trustees planned a special meeting Wednesday at which they are expected to vote on whether to offer tenure to Hannah-Jones, key architect of The 1619 Project for The New York Times Magazine that explored the bitter legacy of racism.The university had announced in April that Hannah-Jones, who won the Pulitzer Prize for her work on the project, would be joining the faculty in July. She had accepted a five-year contract to join the journalism school’s faculty as the Knight Chair in Race and Investigative Journalism.Earlier in the year, Hannah-Jones’ tenure application was halted because she didn’t come from a “traditional academic-type background,” and a trustee who vets the lifetime appointments wanted more time to consider her qualifications, university leaders had said.The school has said little about why tenure wasn’t offered, but a prominent donor revealed that he had emailed university leaders challenging her work as “highly contentious and highly controversial” before the process was halted.Some conservatives have complained about The 1619 Project, which focused on the country’s history of slavery.Monday’s announcement of the scheduled meeting said only that the board would go into closed session. Board chairman Richard Stevens declined comment through the school on the specific nature of the meeting. But the group NC Policy Watch cited unidentified sources as saying the board would vote on whether to grant Hannah-Jones’ application for tenure at the UNC school of journalism and media.The meeting comes a day before Hannah-Jones was to start at the journalism school. Her attorneys announced last week that she would not report for work without tenure.Last week, UNC Student Body President Lamar Richards, who’s also a trustee, requested that the board convene a special meeting no later than Wednesday to vote on tenure for Hannah-Jones. Six board members must agree to a request for a special meeting to take place, according to Richards.The decision by trustees earlier this year to halt Hannah-Jones’ tenure submission sparked a torrent of criticism from within the community. It ultimately revealed a depth of frustration over the school’s failure to answer longstanding concerns about the treatment of Black faculty, staff and students.Several hundred UNC students gathered near the chancellor’s office last Friday to demand that trustees reconsider tenure for Hannah-Jones.
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Discontent over how Black students, faculty and staff have been treated for years at North Carolina’s flagship public university is reemerging after the school refused to offer tenure to a prominent investigative journalist who’s won awards for her work on systemic racism.On Friday, several hundred students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill gathered on a quad near the chancellor’s office to demand that trustees reconsider tenure for Nikole Hannah-Jones, who won a Pulitzer Prize for her work on the 1619 Project examining the bitter legacy of slavery.Demonstrators speaking through a bullhorn described years of frustrations over Black students’ treatment on campus and held signs with messages including “1619 … 2021. Same Struggle,” and “I can give you 1,619 reasons why Hannah-Jones should be tenured.”A decision by trustees earlier this year to halt Hannah-Jones’ tenure submission, despite her predecessors receiving the distinction, sparked a torrent of criticism from within the community and ultimately revealed the depth of the frustration over the school’s failure to answer longstanding concerns. Hannah-Jones’ lawyers informed the school this week that she won’t join the faculty without tenure.The Carolina Black Caucus, a faculty group, reported after a meeting last week that a growing number of its members are considering leaving the school, prompting Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz to call for a meeting with caucus leaders.“The morale is low,” said Patricia Harris, vice chairman of the caucus and director of recruitment for the school of education.“This is not an isolated incident. It’s exacerbated what we’ve been seeing across campus, and even across the country when it comes to Black faculty, staff and students,” she said. “This is a systemic issue where the goal posts are constantly being moved for people of color.”The caucus was founded in 1974, when Black students were demanding the creation of a center for an African American studies program. The Sonja Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture and History opened in 2004. That three-decade delay is part of a history of problems experienced by Black people who either worked at or attended UNC.A dissertation submitted to UNC in 2006 by then-Ph.D. candidate John K. Chapman pointed to struggles by the school’s Black staff members in the 1960s, in the early years after the school officially desegregated. In 1991, the UNC Housekeepers Association initiated a sustained struggle to address the persistence of Jim Crow employment practices at the university, leading to a legal victory in 1996 that provided raises, increased training and a formal acknowledgment of the contributions of Black workers to the university, Chapman wrote.“While Chapel Hill is known far and wide as ‘the Southern Part of Heaven,’ black campus workers and community residents commonly see the university as ‘the Southern Part of Hell’ or ‘the plantation,’” Chapman wrote. “This has to do with the university’s long history of white supremacy and its role as the dominant institution and main employer in Chapel Hill.”In 2019, the campus was roiled by a Confederate statue that had stood for years. Protesters toppled “Silent Sam,” but disputes over what to do with it led the chancellor at the time to resign and the campus police chief to retire. Under a legal settlement, the statue was turned over to a group of Confederate descendants.In the current controversy, Hannah-Jones accepted a five-year contract to join the journalism school’s faculty as the Knight Chair in Race and Investigative Journalism after her tenure application stalled. The trustee who vets tenure applications chose in January to postpone review of Hannah-Jones’ submission because of questions about her nonacademic background, said Richard Stevens, the chairman of the board of trustees for the Chapel Hill campus. It was never brought before the full board for approval.Student body President Lamar Richards, who’s also a trustee, formally requested this week that the board convene a special meeting no later than Wednesday to vote on tenure for Hannah-Jones.“This is so much deeper than tenure,” Richards said in an interview. “People of color have been disrespected at this university for so long that are academics. Even if she came here, she’d still be disrespected. Tenure does not guarantee respect. But what it does, it protects her work and that she’s able to teach it the way she wants to teach it at Carolina.”In an interview before Friday’s demonstration, Black Student Movement President and rising junior Taliajah Vann said it’s difficult for Black students to feel valued when there are few Black professors.“I’ve had two Black professors in my entire time at Carolina so far,” she said. “So (university leaders) think that I’m a great student and I deserve to be here, but you don’t think that professors who look like me should be in the classroom teaching me? It’s incredibly inappropriate.”Jasmé Kelly, a 1995 UNC graduate who’s Black, said recruiting and keeping talented Black faculty has been a problem since she was a student, and she can’t blame faculty or students who don’t want to stay.“Why would someone go where they’re not wanted?” she said. “We’re losing talent. We’re losing opportunities, and the state doesn’t care.”———Associated Press writer Jonathan Drew in Chapel Hill contributed to this report.