We are asking Maryland state and local representatives to sign on to support these reforms from the ACLU and 60 other organizations.
STEP 1: Read the proposed reforms and letter at:
STEP 2: Look up your legislators here:
Maryland General Assembly: http://mgaleg.maryland.gov/mgawebsite/Members/District
Howard County Executive: firstname.lastname@example.org
STEP 3: Start with the following sample language, personalize and email ALL of your state and local representatives.
Dear [Delegate/Senator/Councilperson/County Executive],
I’m writing to ask for you to do two things to support police reform:
Please read the letter calling on Maryland legislators to support strong, renewed demands for police reform and accountability at: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1jsWz8x5HhmEa1ozqWTrwwWbJBOpjVB8J/view
Please pledge your support at: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSevwTjEV99IawicfSJRzCuAregNNzFVLXXc3wEwzDSQnAjwlA/viewform
A large and 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.
I urge you and your colleagues 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.
Thank you for your time and attention to this critical issue.
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