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Opinion Montgomery County needs real police reform

Rhonda LeRoux speaks to reporters about the killing of her 21-year-old son, Ryan LeRoux, by police on July 16 in Gaithersburg, Md.
Rhonda LeRoux speaks to reporters about the killing of her 21-year-old son, Ryan LeRoux, by police on July 16 in Gaithersburg, Md. (Michael Kunzelman/AP)
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Regarding the July 28 Metro article “Police video does not show if LeRoux had gun”:

The killing of Ryan LeRoux was painfully familiar. The police did not de-escalate or wait for a negotiator.  In the words of LeRoux’s mother, “Their way of resolving this situation was to unload a barrage of 24 bullets into him.”

Montgomery County police repeatedly choose to use deadly force against individuals experiencing a mental health crisis. Robert White, Kevin Costlow, Finan Berhe and LeRoux all died because police treated them as threats rather than people in need of assistance. In response, the Silver Spring Justice Coalition has fought for a sufficient number of fully funded and staffed mobile crisis units; we still do not have them. 

We also fought for a strong county use-of-force law, and we have spent months fighting for the Montgomery County Police Department to comply with that law. LeRoux’s killing is further evidence that the MCPD has no interest in compliance.

LeRoux was the fifth person and the fourth Black man police have killed in our county this year. Montgomery County Police Chief Marcus Jones has failed to change the behavior of his officers and gives only lip service to the community’s demands. Our elected officials must require real changes to policing and must appoint a new police chief who will comply.

Carlean Ponder and Robert Veiga, Silver Spring

The writers are co-chairs of the Silver Spring Justice Coalition.

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