Baltimore, MD –The Campaign for Justice, Safety, and Jobs is deeply troubled by the failure of our justice system to find Officer Goodson guilty on all charges. This ruling highlights the need to continue working on ensuring police reform at Baltimore City. Most importantly, it underlines the critical need for deep behavioral change in the Baltimore Police Department culture. Arguments by the defense and former police officers that policies and procedure are “up to the discretion of officers” are seriously disturbing to the Baltimore community and completely unacceptable. The fact that police officers used discretion in failing to secure Freddie Gray with a seat belt is outrageous and in this case had tragic consequences. Unfortunately, Gray’s family and the Baltimore community continue grieving his death and waiting for answers from Baltimore City’s government.
“Today’s verdict is yet another failure of our judicial system”, said CJSJ member Donna Brown, director of Making Change, “we know that our community will never be completely safe until we overhaul the systems that allow police officers in our city to act with impunity, putting the lives of young black and brown men in our city at risk every day.”
During the 2016 Legislative session the Maryland General Assembly took steps toward reforming our police system by amending the state Law Officers Bill of Rights to allow local jurisdictions to include voting civilians on police trail boards. Today’s ruling underscores the need for Baltimore leaders to act decisively to implement this legislation at the local level to ensure some level of accountability and transparency in the way officers are disciplined. For too long, Baltimore’s neighborhoods have seen a revolving door of police officers with histories of misconduct and community complaints coming back to the neighborhoods. Now that Officer Goodson’s criminal trial is over, all eyes will be on the police department to see how he is disciplined internally.
“We look forward to working with Senator Pugh and the incoming city council to pass local legislation authorizing voting civilians on police trial boards,” said Gustavo Torres, Executive Director of CJSJ member CASA de Maryland. “She was a champion on this issue in Annapolis and we need her to continue to lead on police reform in Baltimore.”
The Campaign for Justice, Safety, and Jobs looks forward to working with Police Commissioner Kevin Davis as well as the current and the incoming Mayor and City Council members to implement meaningful police reform that effectively addresses police brutality at its source and encourages full transparency and accountability in all cases of police misconduct. CJSJ is also deeply engaged in campaigns to shift the economic and social inequities that persist in Baltimore and that we believe are fundamentally linked to the systemic police violence suffered by Black and Brown people in the city.
To learn more about the CJSJ go to: http://www.justicesafetyandjobs.org/
The Campaign for Justice, Safety, and Jobs (CJSJ) is a diverse group of community, faith, civil rights, and community leaders who have come together today to raise our voices together in a call for Justice, Safety, and Jobs. The group convened in April of 2015 in the wake of Freddie Gray’s murder at the hands of Baltimore Police officers to address the systemic issues that were unearthed in Freddie Gray’s death and the subsequent uprising throughout the city. To date, the campaign includes over 30 powerful organizations representing thousands of Marylanders from Baltimore, including a diverse combination of local grassroots youth organizations, policy advocates, faith instructions, and labor unions.
CJSJ members include:
1199 SEIU, ACLU of Maryland, Amnesty International, Baltimore Algebra Project, Beats, Rhymes, and Relief, Bmore United, CASA, Citibloc, Communities United, Council on American-Islamic Relations, Equity Matters, Empowerment Temple, Freddie Gray Project, Fusion Group, Jews United for Justice, Justice League, Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle, Making Change, Maryland State Conference NAACP, Peace by Piece, Pleasant Hope Baptist Church, Power Inside, SEIU 32BJ, Southern Engagement Foundation, Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ), Ujima People’s Progress, and Universal Zulu Nation.
Erika Hernandez, CJSJ-CASA, 301-717-4492, firstname.lastname@example.org
Elizabeth Alex 443-802-2933, email@example.com