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'It's not over' Maryland police reform advocates continue to push for racial justice a year after the death of George Floyd

MD police reform advocates continue to push for racial justice 1 year after the death of George Floyd.jpg
Posted at 9:46 PM, May 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-25 23:10:55-04

BALTIMORE — The Maryland Coalition for Justice and Police Accountability has grown to over 95 organizations fighting for social justice since the death of George Floyd.

On Tuesday, advocates with the MCJPA met over zoom to discuss the progress made since his death and the work that still needs to be done.

“It’s not over,” said Johnathan Hutto of the Prince George’s People’s coalition. “The movement is not over and the struggle continues."

Last summer, the coalition announced five legislative priorities for meaningful police reform in Maryland.

Those demands included:

  • Disclosing all police misconduct investigations
  • Creating limits on the use of force
  • Repealing the Law Enforcement Bill of Rights
  • Local control over the Baltimore City Police Department
  • Removing police out of schools

Earlier this year, Maryland lawmakers passed sweeping police reform, which addressed many of their concerns, but advocates said the historic policing package still fell short to achieve racial justice.

For example, a key element of the law enforcement bill of rights—trial boards— is still in place. Advocates also said lawmakers failed to implement a process to give the community power to weigh in on the discipline of police officers.

“These trial boards them having ultimate decision-making power is something that undermines the ability for the community to hold a particular person accountable,” said Dayvon Love who is director of Public Policy for Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle. “And what we have been advocating for is an external entity that has the power impose discipline against officers that harm people in the community."

Members of the coalition also expressed disappointment about lawmakers’ failure to pass two bills to remove police officers out of schools.

Ahead of the next legislation session, MCJPA said they will continue to fight for justice and push for more accountable and transparent police departments across the state.

“We’re simply fighting for justice,” said Dawn Dalton with the Just Us Initiative. “And we aren’t asking for anything us community members don’t deserve.”