Prosecutor’s Office Clears Maryland SWAT Officers in Fatal Shooting of Duncan Lemp
A nine-month investigation by the Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office released last Thursday concluded that the March 12, 2020 police killing of Maryland resident Duncan Lemp during an early morning SWAT raid was justified.
According to the report, which differs significantly from the original police narrative of the killing, a SWAT officer standing outside of Lemp’s bedroom window shot the 21-year-old Lemp five times after he grabbed a rifle and ignored commands to drop it. The report says police recovered three rifles, two “ghost” guns, numerous magazines and boxes of ammunition, an illegal silencer, a bulletproof vest, and a shotgun shell rigged as a booby trap on Lemp’s bedroom door.
The Montgomery County Police Department (MCPD) obtained a no-knock search warrant to raid Lemp’s house on suspicion that he owned several guns despite being “red-flagged” and prohibited from possessing any due to a juvenile offense, the details of which have not been made public. Lemp’s family, through their attorney, dispute both the justification for the raid and the police narrative surrounding the shooting. Lemp’s family said the search warrant was based on flimsy evidence and that Lemp was shot while asleep in bed. The case has been clouded by the conflicting accounts and the lack of video evidence.
Since Lemp’s death, his name has been frequently invoked by “boogaloo boys,” a loose, heavily armed, and very online anti-government movement. (“Boogaloo” refers to a second civil war or armed conflict between citizens and the government.) The report also cites Lemp’s ideology and connections to the militia movement as the impetus for the violent nighttime raid.
“The reasons for the ‘no-knock’ provision was due to Lemp being ‘anti-government,’ ‘anti-police,’ currently in possession of body armor, and an active member of the Three Percenters,” the report says. “Additionally, police had viewed several videos showing Lemp handling and shooting firearms. The police felt that knocking and announcing their presence would put the officers in serious danger if Lemp decided to resist his arrest.”
The report cited text messages obtained from Lemp’s phone, including one where he wrote, “I really do feel the boog though. I might not survive to see it but I’m confident my brothers will.”
It also included a text chain with his mother where he talked about wanting to reinforce his bedroom door. “Do you know what a no-knock warrant is?” Lemp wrote to his mother on November 19, 2019. “A red flag law? We’re one angry phone call away from a swat teams only warning being the first battering ram hit.”
“You are going overboard with this stuff love and I’m honestly worried about you and us,” his mother wrote on December 11. “You’re behaving in a manic way. One or 2 things might be understandable but you keep buying more
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