Accountable PolicingThe League of Women Voters advocates against systemic racism in the justice system and, at a minimum, for preventing excessive force and brutality by law enforcement.
Police Accountability Reform
The LWVBCo works with the Baltimore County Coalition for Police Accountability (BCCPA) to advocate for transparency and accountability in police reform. The coalition pushed for community involvement in the creation of the Police Accountability Board and continues to fight for diverse representation and transparency on the Board.
What is police accountability reform?
The protests across the nation that took place following the video-recorded death of unarmed George Floyd, who was killed during an arrest in Minneapolis in May of 2020, drew national attention to the long legacy of racial injustice and police brutality experienced by people of color in our nation.
After years of local advocates pushing for police reform in Maryland, the General Assembly passed the Maryland Police Accountability Act of 2021 [HB 670], which requires every County to establish a Police Accountability Board, an Administrative Charging Committee, and a Trial Board to oversee police misconduct investigations and discipline.
Baltimore County passed legislation to create and implement the new police misconduct process in the Maryland Police Accountability Act of 2021.
Apply for the Police Accountability Board
Follow the Baltimore County Coalition for Police Accountability website and their Twitter page
Learn how to submit a police misconduct complaint
Why is police reform needed in Baltimore County?
Baltimore County has a long history of systemic inequality, which includes racially biased policing and brutality. Baltimore County police kill more people than 66% of departments nationwide; they kill more unarmed people than 79% of departments; and they arrest Black people 2.7 times more often for low-level, non-violent offenses.
This police misconduct disproportionately impacts people of color. In 2021 - 67% of Use of Force incidents involved people of color, who make up only 40% of the population. More than half of drivers pulled over and arrested in Baltimore County in 2021 were Black, despite making up less than one third of the population.
For more information on the League’s position on systemic racism, visit Racial Justice for Black People and all people of color.
A strong Police Accountability Board matters because Baltimore County police are not held accountable. County police shot 6 people between January and April 2017, but no charges were filed against any of the involved officers. Since 2017, only 11% of citizen complaints against BaCo police were upheld; only 4% of citizen complaints of excessive force were upheld.
LWVUS and LWVMD in police accountability
The LWVUS passed a resolution at the 2022 National Convention for criminal justice that includes police accountability.
The LWVMD joined the Maryland Coalition for Justice and Police Accountability (MCJPA), a group of advocates including individuals and family members who have been impacted by police violence, civil rights activists, religious leaders, law centers and advocates for a whole host of marginalized groups. The MCJPA came together in 2021 to agree on five reforms that they believe would make a significant improvement to police practices in Maryland. These reforms were widely circulated and nearly 100 organizations, including the LWVMD, signed on to support them. This advocacy led to the passage of the MD Police Accountability Act of 2021 (HB670), which included some of the desired reforms.
For more information on the League’s position on criminal justice, which includes police accountability, visit Criminal Justice Position.