- Apr 18, 2013
- Reaction score
- Political Leaning
"This is not anti-police legislation; this is equality and fairness legislation."
Maryland's Democratic-controlled legislature on Saturday voted to override Republican Gov. Larry Hogan's vetoes of police accountability legislation. Maryland is the first state to repeal its Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights, the Washington Post notes. Hogan on Friday vetoed three of the five bills in the police accountability package, claiming the legislation would "result in great damage to police recruitment and retention, posing significant risks to public safety throughout the state." By Saturday evening, the state legislature had voted to override all three vetoes. The legislation outlines a new procedure for disciplining officers accused of wrongdoing that would replace the powerful police bill of rights, according to the Post. Civilians would play a role in the process. The measures also include changes to the state's use-of-force guidelines, a mandate for the use of body cameras statewide and limits on the use of no-knock search warrants, among other reforms. The state legislature also voted to override Hogan's veto of a bill that allows individuals sentenced to life in prison as juveniles to become eligible for parole.
State Delegate Gabriel Acevero (D) on Saturday called Hogan a "coward" for vetoing the measures. Delegate Vanessa Atterbeary (D) said Friday night, "this is not anti-police legislation; this is equality and fairness legislation," per the Post. Maryland State Fraternal Order of Police President Clyde Boatwright earlier Saturday thanked Hogan for the vetoes the measures, saying the legislation, if enacted, would "further erode morale, community relationships, and public confidence." Following last year's racial justice protests after the police killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and other Black people, Maryland Democrats prioritized passing the comprehensive police accountability legislation, per the Post. One of the bills was named "Anton's Law," in honor of Anton Black, who died in 2018 after police in a rural town on Maryland's Eastern Shore pinned the 19-year-old down for several minutes.
Fraternal police organizations and police unions have not engaged in reforming "rule of force" procedures and installing accountability. Thus some state legislatures will now do it for them. Such legislative reform could increase in light of the Derek Chauvin trial. Former Minneapolis police officer Chauvin is on trial for murdering George Floyd last May 25. Chauvin says that he was following his training at the time, the state and city say quite emphatically that Chauvin was never trained to kneel on a subject's neck for over 9 minutes. There should be no uncertainty or ambiguity about the degree force police officers are authorized to use and when. In addition, officers must able to be held accountable when they misapply the rules. In many states, police officers have a far ranging immunity that insulates them from accountability. A solution has to be found. The killing of unarmed citizens by the police is not sustainable.
I personally think the Floyd case is an outlier, a police killing so despicable and egregious that even fellow police officers cannot justify it. That said, I think that police organizations and unions will still insist on wide-ranging immunity.