BALTIMORE (WJZ) – Maryland is now the first state in the country to get rid of a set of rules that provided protection for police due to the nature of their work.
The changes will begin to take effect later this year against the wishes of many police unions and the governor.
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As thousands of protesters marched in 2020, a broader change loomed on the horizon.
Advocates who had called on states to get rid of laws protecting police believed the death of George Floyd in custody would finally attract lawmakers.
“The social unrest has definitely put pressure on key political figures to make substantial changes in the arena of police accountability,” said Dayvon Love, director of public policy for the leaders of a beautiful. fight.
This year, Maryland became the first state to repeal the Law Enforcement Officer Bill of Rights.
It provided protections for the police due to the high pressure nature of their work and split second decisions.
After making that decision, lawmakers then passed measures that would give ordinary citizens a seat at the table to review cases of agent misconduct and even recommend charges against agents.
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“The LEOBR allowed the police to control themselves, and so much of the importance of repealing LEOBR is to ensure that the police do not just police themselves. .
But law enforcement officials believe that stripping protection officers is a mistake.
“I think that’s the problem when you have people who don’t understand what men and women haven’t walked in for them, so to speak,” Harford County Sheriff Jeff Gahler said. .
Sheriff Gahler also said he was concerned that fewer people would choose the career.
“We’re going to see fewer men and women choosing the police as their future careers,” he said. “We are going to see police officers leaving the profession.”
Governor Larry Hogan said the new measures “would erode police morale.”
Maryland was the first to pass the Law Enforcement Officer Rights Act in 1974. It is now the first to repeal it.
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The replacement bills include measures that would limit arrest warrants, and if an officer is found guilty of injuring or killing someone using excessive force, he faces 10 years in prison.