Baltimore, MD – The Campaign for Justice, Safety & Jobs (CJSJ) applauds Governor Hogan for signing into law the police accountability bill passed by the Maryland General Assembly this session. The legislation represents the first change to the Maryland Law Enforcement Officer’s Bill of Rights in decades and opens a critical door for additional reforms at both the state and local levels. CJSJ acknowledges the hard work of the legislative workgroup that crafted initial recommendations for legislation, chaired by Delegate Anderson and Senator Pugh, as well as the thousands of Marylanders who made this victory possible. The bill is adopted one year after the unrest related to the death of Freddie Gray at the hands of Baltimore police officers.
“Maryland takes a strong step forward today, by signing into law the first changes to a policing system that was clearly broken,” said Lydia Walther-Rodriguez, Lead Organizer for CASA.
The Coalition will continue to advocate and engage local and state officials as the legislation moves into the implementation phase. A key provision of the legislation will allow local jurisdictions to put two voting civilians on the police trail board that makes disciplinary decisions, and CJSJ plans to launch a campaign to ensure that Baltimore City is among the first Maryland jurisdictions to do so.
“We know that the community will never trust a system where police are policing themselves,” said Dayvon Love, Public Policy director for Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle. “We plan to work with our local elected officials to ensure that the balance of power is fundamentally shifted through civilian involvement in police discipline.”
While the bill represents a critical step toward reform, the Baltimore City Police Department remains under investigation by the Department of Justice and the trials of Police Officers in the case of Freddie Gray’s death continue. The Campaign for Justice, Safety, and Jobs looks forward to working with 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 such as the Fight for $15 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 our City.
To learn more about the CJSJ go to: http://www.justicesafetyandjobs.org/