Judicial Watch, the conservative group that uses FOIA requests and the power of litigation to unearth government documents in the public interest, is asking a judge in Montgomery County, Maryland to release any and all body camera footage that was recorded by officers who shot and killed 23-year old Duncan Lemp on March 12th while serving a no-knock warrant on the Lemp family’s home.
Lemp’s family has maintained from the time of the shooting that the young man was asleep in his bedroom when officers opened fire from outside the home, but the Montgomery County police have described a very different scenario.
The search warrant on March 12, 2020, was served in the early morning hours, consistent with Montgomery County Department of Police practice. The officers entering the residence announced themselves as police and that they were serving a search warrant. Officers gave commands for individuals inside the residence to show their hands and to get on the ground. Upon making contact with Lemp, officers identified themselves as the police and gave him multiple orders to show his hands and comply with the officer’s commands to get on the ground. Lemp refused to comply with the officer’s commands and proceeded towards the interior bedroom door where other officers were located. Upon entrance by officers into Lemp’s bedroom, Lemp was found to be in possession of a rifle and was located directly in front of the interior bedroom entrance door.
During the service of the search warrant a device was discovered affixed to the inside frame of the exterior door leading to Lemp’s bedroom. Montgomery County Fire Marshals responded in order to render the device safe. The device was designed as a “booby trap” intended to detonate a shotgun shell at the direction of anyone entering through the exterior door into Lemp’s bedroom. After officers entered the bedroom, the other occupant of the room warned the officers to be careful of the device rigged to the exterior door. Statements from other occupants of the residence indicated they were aware of the dangerous device on the door.
Further statements from the other occupant in Lemp’s bedroom indicated that he slept with the rifle each night. Contrary to some information reported to the media, the same occupant also indicated that Lemp was out of the bed and standing directly in front of the interior bedroom door at the time the officers made entry into the bedroom.