State’s attorneys oppose unbiased prosecutions in police misconduct, extreme pressure instances

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State's attorneys oppose independent prosecutions in police misconduct, excessive force cases

Who should handle investigations into police misconduct and use-of-force cases?The question was at the heart of a legislative hearing on police reform measures.Howard County Delegate Vanessa Atterbeary, D-District 13, chairs the bipartisan Workgroup to Address Police Reform and Accountability in Maryland, which was formed this summer to review policies and procedures and investigate whether to implement uniform statewide standards.”I come to this as an African American woman raising three African American kids — two of them are boys — and so, this is personal. This is critical,” Atterbeary said.The workgroup heard testimony Thursday from the bipartisan Maryland State’s Attorneys’ Association.”I clearly understand. Change is coming to Maryland,” Montgomery County State’s Attorney John McCarthy said.The group’s recommendations presented virtually via Zoom included expanding the use of body-worn cameras, mandate implicit bias training and create a statewide police misconduct database.”We believe that we can do this and so we’ve gotten together to try to address these issues,” Howard County State’s Attorney Rich Gibson Jr. said.But the bulk of the discussion — and a good deal of pushback — concerned how to handle cases of police misconduct and excessive force. The state’s attorneys support independent investigations, but strongly oppose independent prosecutions.”What that does is it does dilute the voice of each constituent,” Gibson said.”To take the power away from the local state’s attorney to prosecute these cases, we believe, would be a mistake,” Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Aisha Braveboy said.”If the community has elected me to do a job and I don’t do a job, guess what happens? They vote me out,” Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby said.Atterbeary said the same thing she told 11 News: “We are going to make bold change when it comes to police reform and accountability in the state of Maryland so that our citizens can feel confident in their police force and so we can take a huge step moving forward.”The panel previously heard testimony from members of the public and law enforcement officers and will make its recommendations prior to the start of the 2021 legislative session.

Who should handle investigations into police misconduct and use-of-force cases?

The question was at the heart of a legislative hearing on police reform measures.

Howard County Delegate Vanessa Atterbeary, D-District 13, chairs the bipartisan Workgroup to Address Police Reform and Accountability in Maryland, which was formed this summer to review policies and procedures and investigate whether to implement uniform statewide standards.

“I come to this as an African American woman raising three African American kids — two of them are boys — and so, this is personal. This is critical,” Atterbeary said.

The workgroup heard testimony Thursday from the bipartisan Maryland State’s Attorneys’ Association.

“I clearly understand. Change is coming to Maryland,” Montgomery County State’s Attorney John McCarthy said.

The group’s recommendations presented virtually via Zoom included expanding the use of body-worn cameras, mandate implicit bias training and create a statewide police misconduct database.

“We believe that we can do this and so we’ve gotten together to try to address these issues,” Howard County State’s Attorney Rich Gibson Jr. said.

But the bulk of the discussion — and a good deal of pushback — concerned how to handle cases of police misconduct and excessive force. The state’s attorneys support independent investigations, but strongly oppose independent prosecutions.

“What that does is it does dilute the voice of each constituent,” Gibson said.

“To take the power away from the local state’s attorney to prosecute these cases, we believe, would be a mistake,” Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Aisha Braveboy said.

“If the community has elected me to do a job and I don’t do a job, guess what happens? They vote me out,” Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby said.

Atterbeary said the same thing she told 11 News: “We are going to make bold change when it comes to police reform and accountability in the state of Maryland so that our citizens can feel confident in their police force and so we can take a huge step moving forward.”

The panel previously heard testimony from members of the public and law enforcement officers and will make its recommendations prior to the start of the 2021 legislative session.

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RIGHT NOW: state lawmakers working on police reform and accountability hearing proposal from group representing the states atty from all 24 jurisdictions…

— Kate Amara (@kateamaraWBAL) September 17, 2020