The Maryland Law Enforcement Officer’s Bill of Rights (LEBOR) is the biggest obstacle to meaningful police accountability and transparency in Baltimore and around the state of Maryland. It creates barriers to gaining access to information about incidents of police misconduct/excessive force and impedes the public ability to punish officers who have abused and brutalized people in our community.
Many elected officials have made the statement that Maryland/Baltimore is not Ferguson. According to a recent report by the ALCU, 109 people have died in police custody since 2010. This is a damning refutation of a such an ignorant assertion. This has been happening for decades, but the community has had enough.
Public Safety is a public good. Public goods must be preserved through mechanisms of accountability to the institutions that are responsible for serving the community. The LEOBR keeps police from being accountable.
WHY BALTIMORE IS DIFFERENT
Baltimore is saturated with non-profit institutions and controlled by the Democratic Party. These institutions engage in the practice of lifting up examples of the success of individual Black people as a sign of the collective empowerment of Black people.
This has led to a divestment in the development of independent Black led grassroots organizations. This has devastated our ability to effectively address these kinds of problems. Many of our elected officials are products of this system and have no real accountability to the masses of people in Baltimore.
We must use this opportunity to talk about building the institutional capacity, political and economic power to make our government respect our humanity. American civil society has demonstrated its lack of interest the humanity of our people, so we must build the institutions the protect our interest ourselves.
Even though we have come together to address the issue of police brutality, this is one element of a larger system of racism/white supremacy. Civil society is structured in such a way that undermines the humanity of Black people and other people of color. We need to begin to ground our words and action into sustainable mechanism for true empowerment.
We need to build the economic and political infrastructure in our communities so that we can have the capacity to build the power necessary to prevent tragedies like this from ever happening again.
The parts of the LEOBR that we want changed
Investigations into police misconduct
Police trial boards
Complaint filing with the police department
Abolish the 10 Day Rule
Click here to download these demands in PDF format.