Despite minimal rescheduling notice, Community members attended the third Baltimore PAB hearing on Thursday and uplifted community testimony, prior to Monday’s city council PAB vote.
BALTIMORE, MD – Baltimore community residents, including survivors of police misconduct, called on the City Council on Thursday to make critical changes to the Police Accountability Board (PAB) by increasing community representation, providing independent legal counsel, and disallowing members with conflicts of interest to serve on the board. The City Council will vote on the PAB bill Monday.
“Directly impacted voices need to be represented in the PAB, not former police officers – as many members of the community are less likely to file formal complaints against the police due to intimidation,” said CASA Member Lily Cordova testifying during the June 23rd hearing, in response to the city council debating on having the PAB cap at two seats for former police officers with unsustained misconduct on their record.
The Campaign for Justice, Safety, and Jobs (CJSJ) and the Maryland Coalition for Justice and Police Accountability (MCJPA) issued a letter last month to the Baltimore City Council (available here) outlining these concerns and others about Baltimore City’s proposal for the creation of a Police Accountability Board.
“The City has said it is investing significant resources in community re-entry programs; however it invalidates those re-entry efforts if it treats returning citizens like second class citizens by dis-allowing them to serve on governmental bodies,” Organizing Black Member Sam Master said.
The Baltimore based Campaign for Justice, Safety, and Jobs (CJSJ) is a diverse group of community, faith instructions, policy advocates, civil rights, and local grassroots organizations who have come together to raise our voices 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 dozens of powerful organizations representing thousands of Marylanders from Baltimore fighting for Police accountability and Reform. The Maryland Coalition for Justice and Police Accountability is an alliance of over 100 organizations statewide who are seeking police accountability through legislative change.