Maryland lawmakers passed a police reform package that repealed its police Bill of Rights after the Democrat-controlled Legislature voted to override three of Republican Gov. Larry Hogan’s vetoes.
According to the report, the reform package removes protections in police due process for alleged misconduct that critics say have impeded accountability. Supporters of the new reform described the legislation as the most far-reaching police reform in the state’s history.
The reform package also includes provisions to increase the civil liability limit on lawsuits involving police from $400,000 to $890,000 and an officer convicted of causing serious injury or death through excessive force would face 10 years in prison.
It also sets a new statewide standard for what is deemed “necessary” force. Officers will also be limited to daytime for “no-knock” raids, except for emergencies, and body cameras will be mandated by 2025, according to the report.
Critics say the reforms go too far and are “anti-cop.”
Hogan believed the bills would “further erode police morale, community relationships, and public confidence,” Fox News reported.
“They will result in great damage to police recruitment and retention, posing significant risks to public safety throughout our state,” Hogan explained in his vetoes
Republican state Sen. Robert Cassilly, said the reform package “allows for hindsight review of folks sitting in the easy chairs to judge people who made split-second decisions in volatile situations.”
Democratic state Sen. Charles Sydnor, who sponsored one of the measures, said “Last year, I attended and participated in multiple demonstrations of people demanding change — the young and the old, people of all races and walks of life. With so many situations being thrust before our eyes, we could no longer deny what we see, and I thank my colleagues for believing their eyes and listening to the majority of Marylanders.”
Maryland first instituted its Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights in 1974 and about 20 states have since adopted similar measures, setting due process procedures for investigating police misconduct. Maryland is the first to repeal the law.