Howard, Montgomery Counties Partner to Swap Cases of Police-Involved Deaths

With the intent of building public trust in the fairness and independence of investigations into police-involved deaths, state prosecutors in Howard and Montgomery Counties have entered into a partnership to exchange investigations of the cases that occur within their counties. As reported in The Baltimore Sun:

State’s attorneys work regularly with police to investigate and prosecute crime, which leads to a perception that prosecutors favor officers, McCarthy said. He added that Montgomery and Howard counties haven’t fielded such complaints.

“There are a large number of individuals that feel that it’s not going to be looked at fairly,” McCarthy said. “We have an obligation toward changing that perception.”

The counties each reported two police-involved deaths last year, McCarthy said. Montgomery County has about 1,200 officers on its police force; Howard has 500.

In such cases — one of which has been sent already to Howard County for review — the other county would send a prosecutor to investigate, and all court proceedings, including any trial, would take place in the original jurisdiction, he said.

The idea is supported by the findings of a task force appointed by President Barack Obama, which last month recommended that police departments mandate external investigations into fatal use-of-force incidents and deaths of police prisoners. The 21st-Century Policing Task Force also recommended independent prosecutors review the cases.

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