Maryland became the first state in the U.S. to end its “police Bill of Rights” when Democratic lawmakers passed broad law enforcement reform bills Saturday.
The Democratic-led legislature overrode a veto by Republican Gov. Larry Hogan to pass three new policing bills. The new laws remove certain legal protection for police officers accused of misconduct, a move proponents argue will improve police accountability.
The changes increase the civil liability limit for officers from $400,000 to nearly $900,000, and the penalty for officers convicted of using excessive force, killing or seriously injuring someone is now up to 10 years in prison. (RELATED: New Mexico Ends Qualified Immunity For Police, All Government Workers)
The laws also mandate bodycam usage statewide by 2025, ban nighttime “no-knock” raids and set a statewide standard for “necessary force.” Democrats sponsoring the legislation cited last summer’s Black Lives Matter demonstrations as inspiration, while Hogan said the laws would cause “great damage to police recruitment and retention” and “erode police morale, community relationships, and public confidence.”
Maryland was the first state to pass a police Bill of Rights in 1974, and 20 states have followed suit since, according to Fox News. (RELATED: ANALYSIS: Here’s What Joe Biden Is Missing About The Wave Of Anti-Asian Crime)
Gov Larry Hogan: defunding police is “crazy”
Mayor Brandon Scott: reallocation of funding is “something we should have done when I was in high school” https://t.co/A9p6gSdVDy
— Jayne Miller (@jemillerwbal) April 9, 2021
Hogan also recently clashed with Democratic Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott after Scott announced a new task force aimed at reducing Baltimore’s police budget over the next five years. Hogan called Scott’s comments “crazy,” citing “out of control” violent crime and murder rates in Maryland’s largest city.
Scott accused Hogan of deploying “Republican talking points.” Violent crime has decreased somewhat in the city, but more than 300 murders were committed in 2020 for the sixth year in a row, and murders in 2021 are up slightly thus far.