A Call for Transparency, Racial Sensitivity Training and Review of Questionable Cases by the
Montgomery County Police Department
April 7, 2021- The Keith Warren Justice Foundation (KWJF) expresses its disbelief and alarm after review of the bodycam footage of the traumatization of a 5-year-old African American male by members of the Montgomery County Police Department (MCPD). The release of the body cam footage reinforces the need for transparency, increased training, racial sensitivity and review of the continued actions of the MCPD. The KWJF has been fighting for over the last 35 years for greater transparency with in the MPD. We applaud Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich’s statement on this issue and hope that this results in reform in the embattled police department. One issue that is of major concern for KWJF is the case impropriety and lack of transparency in the search for justice for another Black young man; Keith Warren.
Keith Waddell Warren was a 19-year-old man that was found hanging from a tree on July 31, 1986. The death was not defined by the coroner as a lynching or murder but rather a suicide. Shockingly, the Montgomery County coroner’s office without a criminal investigation or autopsy deemed this young man with a full life ahead of him a suicide based on no credible evidence and to the contrary assessed that he put himself on a tree although subsequent experts deemed it implausible. Further other items were not investigated and materials from the scene mysteriously disappeared. Keith’s family and friends have repeatedly called for a reopening of the case and to investigate fully the cause of death without bias as well as the multiple questionable actions and inaction by members of the MCPD. The requests have been met with little to no legitimate interest, cursory answers at best and coverup at worst; and another young Black man’s cry for justice is ignored.; even from the grave. The MCPD must be accountable and we ask that County Executive Marc Elrich review this case and help us in our request for the right of all Americans—simple justice. “My mother spent decades trying to find out the real circumstances around the death of her only son and I, along with other friends and family, have pledged to continue this quest for answers and justice for my brother. However, this is now bigger than what my family knows is the murder/ lynching of my brother; it is about the atrocities and coverup that all too often rears its ugly head in the African American community often by members of a profession that is sworn to serve the community,” says Sherri Warren the Executive Director of the KWJF.
Ms. Warren went on to state; “We applaud the work of the majority of officers who are invaluable to the safety and wellbeing of the community; but just as with any profession there are problems and a need for transparency, training and yes purging of those that do harm. In the case of the trauma inflicted on a 5-year-old AA male and his family justice must be served.”