My name is Claire Landers.
I am a resident of Baltimore County and co-chair of the Baltimore Leadership Council of Jews United for Justice. JUFJ is over 5000 strong in Maryland and we advocate for racial equity and economic justice on the state level and in our local communities.
Last year, Baltimore County, where I live, ranked #1, over every other jurisdiction in all of Maryland, in officer-involved civilian deaths.
In January, Jahmel Brown, a 31 year old County resident called 911 requesting help. Four County officers responded to his home & deployed tasers which induced cardiac arrest.
The public has never received answers to very basic questions around how and why Mr. Brown’s call for help ended up in a death-by-taser.
I recently viewed a cell phone video recorded last year showing a County officer with his knee on the neck of an eighth grade girl, restrained on the floor of the school cafeteria, because she disobeyed his order to be silent.
Did he face any disciplinary action? Again – the public has received no answers to reasonable questions.
Just a 5 minute walk from my home, my neighbors in Baltimore City fund the Baltimore Police Department with a half billion dollar budget every year. Yet neither they nor their local elected leaders have any say over the operations of the deeply troubled BPD.
How is that still possible in this day and age?
The answer to all of the above is that in Maryland, we have a system that permits “police to police themselves” without any accountability to ‘outsiders’, meaning members of the public like me, elected public officials like you, or even direct victims of police abuse or the families of victims.
We urge you change this flawed system by:
- Repealing LEOBR;
- Reforming MPIAs privacy protections around police misconduct complaints;
- Removing law enforcement officers from our schools, and
- Restoring control of Baltimore City’s police to the people who live there.