GAITHERSBURG, Md. — Supporters of two men shot and killed by police this year marched through local streets and held a rally on Saturday calling for greater accountability of the officers involved and more transparency in the investigations.
Outside Gaithersburg City Hall, around 50 attendees held signs while others chanted for 24-year-old Kwamena Ocran and 21-year-old Ryan LeRoux.
In Jan. 2021, Ocran was shot and killed by Gaithersburg Police after police officers initially said they received a call saying there was a man with a gun. Upon arrival, the department said officers identified themselves, Ocran ran, they shot him and later found a gun. There is no video to show us what happened. The four plainclothes officers were not required to wear body cameras.
LeRoux was shot and killed earlier in early July outside of a Gaithersburg McDonalds after multiple officers responded to a call of a man who refused to pay or move his car in the drive-thru.
Body camera video released this week shows a uniformed police officer approach the car and report seeing LeRoux reclined in the front seat and a gun on the front passenger seat.
In a slowed-down version of one portion of the video, LeRoux leans forward and appears to be pointing a dark object. Footage from the camera inside the McDonald's shows the back of LeRoux's body, where he leans back with his arm raised.
That's when the four officers shoot at the car, which can be seen from multiple camera angles in MCPD's full video online. WUSA9 has chosen not to show the moment of the shooting from the close-up camera angle.
The chief said officers performed CPR and rushed LeRoux to the hospital, where he later died.
On Saturday, friends and family members of both men hoped their rally could bring more attention to what happened to Ocran and Leroux.
"Those police officers that committed that heinous crime against my son should not have been placed on administrative leave. They should have been arrested and charged with murder," said Melody Cooper, Ocran's mother. "I don’t see the sense in the way they assassinated my son and then they assassinated that young man (LeRoux) as well.”
Members of the rally stopped traffic at times while marching through streets and chanting against police.
After stopping outside a Gaithersburg police station, the group called for more information from the two cases to be shared.
"We’re here with three very specific demands: release the tapes, stop killing us and stop lying," said Vanessa Till, a supporter of Ryan LeRoux. "It needs to stop. Reveal the tapes. Arrest these cops and stop killing Black people.”
This past week, the Montgomery County Police Department released 28 minutes of footage from six different cameras showing the response to the incident involving LeRoux outside the McDonalds off Flower Hill Way.
LeRoux's family was shown the bodycam footage before it was released to the public. WUSA9 spoke with LeRoux's father, who said one of his biggest take-aways from the video is that his son was in a really bad place. The father went on to explain his son had just lost his girlfriend and his job, and his grandmother had recently died.
While the body camera footage showed crucial moments of the response, supporters on Saturday called for a full video of the incident to be released.
"We don’t mean reveal sort of the tape, we don’t mean three minutes of it," said Till. "We need to reveal the tapes so people can have peace.”
Moving forward, Ocran's mother said she would keep calling for the arrests of the officers who shot and killed her son and LeRoux.
"I will never be the same. They took a part of me," she said. "I do know that I’m always going to continue to fight.”