Anne Arundel County Chief of Police Kevin Davis posted the following message on the department's Facebook page.
The recent incident involving the Anne Arundel County Police Department and Edgewater’s beloved William “Boogie” Lawson Jr., not surprisingly, has evoked an emotional response from the community. Its impact on me and our police department has similarly struck a chord. As the new police chief, I’m dedicated to a path forward that includes best practices in policy and training that serve to prohibit future performance transgressions.
I was briefed on the circumstances surrounding Boogie’s arrest just hours after the incident, and immediately identified several shortcomings. I personally contacted State’s Attorney Anne Colt- Leitess, and asked her to drop the criminal charges. The State’s Attorney agreed, and did so right away. Although I communicated the timeliness of my personal decision to a Capital reporter during an interview, it didn’t appear in your August 21 article in a manner consistent with the urgency I assigned to it. That’s a disservice to the community.
An Internal Affairs investigation is well underway. The involved police officers, acting without the benefit of hindsight and with initial intentions consistent with good police work, will be afforded the same fair treatment I expect our citizens to receive from us. Accountability will prevail.
I’ve since met with Boogie’s family and several community stakeholders at the very same neighborhood tavern where Boogie earns a few dollars from time to time. I spoke to them directly and honestly. Transparency benefits us all.
We are actively engaged in conversations with the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) and Department of Justice / Community Oriented Policing Service (DOJ/COPS) in an effort to identify best practices regarding the use of Conducted Electrical Weapons (CEWs) and law enforcement interactions with mentally ill and developmentally disabled persons. Our internal CEW policies are now being strengthened to ensure stricter deployment guidelines and command review.
Anne Arundel County’s Mobile Crisis Team, in the meantime, is conducting mandatory agency-wide roll call training during the month of September specifically addressing patrol responses to scenes and incidents involving mentally ill and developmentally disabled persons. Patrol officers must be armed with contemporary and effective de-escalating techniques that protect everyone from physically and emotionally harmful confrontations.
I again apologize to Boogie and his family. We will, I am certain of it, emerge from this experience a better police department.
Chief of Police