Judicial Watch filed a Public Information Act (PIA) lawsuit against the Montgomery County, MD, Police Department (MCPD) seeking all body-cam videos from the fatal shooting of Duncan Socrates Lemp.
The 21-year-old Lemp, a student and software developer, was shot and killed by police in his Potomac, MD, home during the execution of a "no-knock" search warrant in the early morning hours of March 12, 2020.
Lemp's family reportedly said
that Lemp and his family were asleep "when police besieged the residence from the front of the house"
and the family was "awakened by shots fired through Duncan's bedroom window followed by the sound of flash bangs."
According to the family's attorney, an eyewitness
said Lemp was asleep in his bedroom when police opened fire from outside the house.
Police disputed that account. The MCPD said in a statement
that SWAT team officers were acting on an anonymous tip that Lemp was in possession of firearms that he was prohibited from having "due to his criminal history as a juvenile."
The MCPD maintains that, upon making contact with Lemp, officers identified themselves as the police and gave Lemp multiple orders to show his hands and comply with the officer's commands to get on the ground. It also reportedly maintains that Lemp refused to comply with the officer's commands and proceeded towards an interior bedroom door where other officers were located.
According to the Lemp family attorneys, SWAT officers shot Lemp multiple times. They also reported that an eyewitness "told investigators that police never made verbal commands upon either her or Duncan until after Duncan was shot and lay bleeding on the floor. Multiple eyewitnesses told investigators that the police only forced entry into the home after Duncan was shot. According to those eyewitnesses, the police had no contract with any family members until after Duncan was shot."
The MCPD statement said Lemp was out of bed and standing "directly in front of the interior bedroom door" holding a rifle "he slept with" each night as officers "made entry into the bedroom."
We filed the lawsuit in the Montgomery County Circuit Court after the Montgomery County Police Department failed to respond to our June 18 PIA request (Judicial Watch v. Montgomery County Police Department
(No. V482964)). We are asking for:
- All body-worn camera videos relating to the raid on, and resulting death of, Duncan Socrates Lemp by a Montgomery County Police SWAT team on March 12, 2020 at Mr. Lemp's home in Potomac, Maryland.
Given the vastly differing accounts of what happened, the Montgomery County Police Department needs to release all body-cam footage from the SWAT team raid on and shooting of Duncan Lemp. Withholding basic public information about a police shooting undermines public confidence in law enforcement.