Jewish tradition teaches that “One must not stand idly by while your neighbor’s blood is shed” (Leviticus 19:16). Millions of us have witnessed the life of George Floyd end beneath the knee of a police officer as fellow officers stood by and ignored pleas to intervene, just one recent death in a long line of Black people abused and killed by police officers across this country — including right here in Baltimore County.
County Councilmember Julian Jones has introduced bill #73-20 to hold Baltimore County police accountable to the community, restrict use of force, and to make sure that officers who do the right thing are protected from retaliation.
JUFJ leaders submitted public testimony in support of this bill during the County Council work session on Tuesday, 7/28. Read below to hear why JUFJ leader Sheldon Laskin supports this bill.
I am Sheldon Laskin, living in Baltimore County.
I speak in support of County Bill No. 73-20, Councilman Jones’ bill to require de-escalatory technique training to county Police Officers, to forbid chokeholds by Police Officers and to make certain other reforms in police training and protocols.
It should never be the case that such non-violent offenses as selling untaxed cigarettes, passing a counterfeit $20 bill (perhaps inadvertently) or sleeping off a bender in a fast food take out lane ends in the suspect’s death at the hands of a police officer. But all too frequently in this country, such encounters end in the violent death of generally unarmed African Americans, at the hands of police officers sworn to serve and protect.
We are long past the point of blaming these incidents on “a few bad apples.” Clearly, there is a systemic problem here that requires systemic solutions. Councilman Jones’ bill is a modest attempt to institute some of those solutions. As a resident and voter of Baltimore County, I urge the Council to pass County Bill No. 73-20.