Baltimore City Legislative Agenda Targets Police Misconduct

Baltimore City Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake’s legislative agenda includes bills to address police misconduct and to strengthen the ability to discipline wayward officers. As reported in The Baltimore Sun:

One bill would create a new felony “misconduct in office” charge for police officers. It is designed to address a provision of Maryland’s Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights that allows police commissioners to suspend officers without pay only if they are charged with a felony. The new misconduct offense could be charged when an officer is accused of committing any misdemeanor crime punishable by more than a year in jail, such as second-degree assault.

A second bill would speed up the process through which the police commissioner can discipline an officer who avoids a court conviction through a probation-before-judgment sentence in a felony or serious misdemeanor case. In such cases, the mayor’s legislation would remove the officer’s right to have a hearing before a trial board before the commissioner decides a final punishment.

A third bill would seek to increase the scope of the Civilian Review Board to hear a wider variety of complaints against all officers inside city limits, including those on state agency forces such as the Maryland Transit Administration police.

Del. Curt Anderson, chairman of Baltimore’s House delegation in Annapolis, said he would act as lead sponsor on the mayor’s bills. He said they are among a wide range of bills targeting police brutality planned by city legislators, including bills that would create standards for police body cameras.

The proposals are drawing criticism from statewide organizations of law enforcement officers, though Anderson said he believes the city’s bills have a good chance of passing because they are not overly aggressive in overhauling the Officers Bill of Rights.

For more information read the full article in The Baltimore Sun.