Over 60 Organizations Across State Call on Maryland Legislators to Commit Support for Specific Meaningful Police Reforms 

Over 60 Organizations Across State Call on Maryland Legislators to Commit Support for Specific Meaningful Police Reforms 

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

June 18, 2020

 

 

ANNAPOLIS, MD – A large, diverse coalition of over 60 groups from across the state are calling on Maryland legislators to support strong, renewed demands for police reform and accountability. Over the past few weeks, after the police killing of George Floyd and the national outcry that followed, elected leaders have issued countless statements, social media posts, and other expressions of solidarity with Black Marylanders who have suffered police abuse. The groups now urge legislators to act on those words and pass at least five impactful police reforms during the next Maryland General Assembly Legislative session. 

 

Repeal the Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights (LEOBR). Even for police officers with a proven track record of abusing and killing Black and Brown people, our state still gives law enforcement special rights against punishment for wrongdoing under the LEOBR – the most extreme such law in the country. Since LEOBR was enacted, it has allowed police abuse to go unpunished. Now is the time for accountability, and accountability requires ending LEOBR. 

 

Control of the Baltimore City Police Department must be restored to Baltimore City residents. Baltimore City, a majority Black jurisdiction, is the only locality in Maryland that does not govern its own police department. Because the Baltimore Police Department is controlled by the state, Baltimore residents must go to Annapolis to urge legislators to make changes to the policies and practices of their local police department. This must end. 

 

Investigations into police misconduct must be Transparent. The Maryland Public Information Act (MPIA) currently blocks access to information about how police misconduct investigations are handled, wrongfully categorizing this information as confidential personnel files. This secrecy allows police departments to hide the details of police misconduct. Survivors of police misconduct, their families, and communities should have the right to know if their cases – all of their cases, without exception – are investigated properly or if they were even investigated at all. 

 

Maryland must limit the use of force by law enforcement. Maryland is one of a few states that do not have a statutory limit on police officers’ use of force. For decades, officers have used violent and often deadly force against Black and Brown people, which is why legislators need to pass a law to address the use of force by law enforcement in Maryland. 

 

Remove law enforcement from our children’s schools. Overwhelming evidence has proven that when there are police officers at schools, arrests of children substantially increase, even though disruptive behavior is often better addressed through nonpunitive supports and interventions. Instead of depending on School Resource Officers, we should shift our focus to hiring more trained counselors, social workers, psychologists, and behavioral specialists in schools. 

 

Policing in Maryland is broken. Reforms are necessary, not optional. Anything short of enacting these five reforms is not acceptable.

 

This letter can be found online here and legislators can pledge their support through this online form.

 

Organizations Calling for Police Reform Include: 

 

Advocates for Children and Youth

ACLU of Maryland

ACLU of Maryland, Montgomery County Chapter

Baltimore Action Legal Team

Baltimore Bern Unit

Baltimore City Civilian Review Board

Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) Office in Maryland 

CASA

Caucus of African-Americans Leaders

Citizens Policing Project 

Coalition for Justice for Anton Black

Coalition of Concerned Mothers

Common Cause Maryland 

Community Actively Seeking Transparency (C.A.S.T.)

Disability Rights Maryland

Do the Most Good

Drug Policy Alliance

For Kathy’s Sake

FreeState Justice

Greater Baltimore Democratic Socialists of America – Steering Committee

Hispanic National Law Enforcement Association

Homeless Persons Representation Project

Innocence Project

InterFaith Action for Human Rights

Jews United For Justice

Job Opportunities Task Force 

Justice Policy Institute

Law Enforcement Action Partnership

Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle

League of Women Voters Maryland

LGBTQ Dignity Project

Life After Release

Making Changes

Mama Sisterhood of Prince George’s County

March for Our Lives Maryland

Maryland Alliance for Justice Reform

Maryland Consumer Rights Coalition

Maryland Justice Project

Maryland Poor People’s Campaign

Maryland Prisoners’ Rights Coalition

Maryland Restorative Justice Initiative 

Marylanders to Prevent Gun Violence

Montgomery County Civil Rights Coalition

Montgomery County Democratic Socialists of America

Mothers on the Move

NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland

NAACP Maryland State Conference Political Action

Office of the Public Defender

Our Prince George’s

Out For Justice, Inc.

Planned Parenthood of Maryland

Power Inside

Prevent Gun Violence Ministry, River Road Unitarian Universalist Congregation

Prince George’s People’s Coalition

Prisons to Professionals

Progressive Maryland

Public Justice Center

Racial Justice NOW!

Rebuild, Overcome, and Rise (ROAR) Center at UMB

Reproductive Justice Inside

Sanctuary DMV

SEIU 1199

Showing Up for Racial Justice, Baltimore

Silver Spring Justice Coalition

Takoma Park Mobilization

West Wednesdays

Wicomico County NAACP Branch 7028

Women’s Law Center

 

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