“[The bill] will result in great damage to police recruitment and retention, posing significant risks to public safety throughout our state,” said Gov. Larry Hogan.
By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News
A Maryland bill passed on Saturday, which repeals the so-called police officers’ bill of rights, will endanger police morale and public safety, Republican lawmakers warned.
The new Maryland Police Accountability Act removes protections for police in cases of alleged misconduct. Republican Gov. Larry Hogan vetoed the bill, but the state’s Democrat-controlled General Assembly was able to overturn the veto.
Hogan wrote in the explanation for his veto that the bill “would further erode police morale, community relationships, and public confidence.
“[The bill] will result in great damage to police recruitment and retention, posing significant risks to public safety throughout our state,” he wrote.
Republican state Sen. Robert Cassilly echoed Hogan’s concerns.
According to the Baltimore Sun, he referred to the bill as “anti-cop” and said it places the opinions of bureaucrats over the real-word experiences of police officers.
It “allows for hindsight review of folks sitting in the easy chairs to judge people who made split-second decisions in volatile situations,” he said.
The MPAA bill rolls back nearly all of the protections for officers included in the police bill of rights, such as protection from lawsuits and caps on civil damages individual officers would need to pay in a civil judgement.
The new bill increases civil liability for police officers found guilty of misconduct from $400,000 to $800,000 and sets a new standard for what is considered “necessary force.”
Under the new MPAA policy, officers found guilty of using excessive force can now be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison. It also “gives civilians a role” in the investigation process of officers accused of misconduct.
Additionally, it restricts the use of no-knock raids to daytime hours only and mandates that by 2025, all officers use body cameras whenever they are on duty.
Democratic Del. Vanessa Atterbeary slammed Hogan for vetoing the bill.
“[He] does not stand with Black & Brown people in the state of MD! He has missed the NATL MOVEMENT calling for #PoliceReform & #PoliceAccountability. SHAME ON HIM,” she tweeted.
In 1974, Maryland became the first state to introduce a police officers’ bill of rights, setting the stage for 20 other states to implement similar laws.
Maryland is now the first state to revoke these protections for law enforcement officers.