MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. (DC News Now) — In July 2021, 21-year-old Ryan LeRoux was shot to death by police at a Mcdonald’s drive-thru. Now, the Department of Justice is showing support for the family’s lawsuit against Montgomery County Police.
In April, Leroux’s parents sued the department after the 4 officers involved in the shooting of their son were cleared by a grand jury.
The incident began when a McDonald’s employee called police saying LeRoux refused to pay for his food or leave the drive-thru. According to the complaint, officers took more than an hour to respond and did not immediately call the mobile crisis unit.
“If we have a police force that continues to overreact, particularly when encountering a black person who was having some form of mental health crises and police force that tends to react with violence shoot first, questions later,” said Co-Chair of the Silver Spring Justice Coalition Carlean Ponder. “We’re going to continue to get the types of results that we have been getting.”
A crisis negotiator was eventually dispatched after police said LeRoux ignored commands, but before they arrived, the officers shot LeRoux. Officers say LeRoux pointed a gun, but both a gun and cell phone were found on his lap and the body camera video does not show what was in his hand.
MCP filed a motion to dismiss the case stating they did not know about LeRoux’s disability, but the DOJ said the department needs to do more before attempting to dismiss the case.
“Under the Americans With Disabilities Act when you get called to a scene with a person with a disability, you need to respond to the disability, and not just treat the disability as if it were a crime,” said Eve Hill, partner at Brown Goldstein & Levy, LLP.
Montgomery County Police said they cannot discuss the case because there is pending litigation.