A new report alleges a pattern of police misconduct in West Baltimore. The group No Boundaries Coalition presented the initial findings of their report in Annapolis on Tuesday.
They wanted the release their report to coincide with the Senate hearings on a bill to restore accountability to policing.
According to the report summary, 453 of 1500 West Baltimore residents surveyed following the death of Freddie Gray had stories of police misconduct. However, only 39 people were willing to speak on record. The group attributed that to a high level of fear of police retaliation. That's why organizers said they want to see legislators hold police accountable by implementing new laws that rebuild trust.
“Years ago, we were a community, but now we're so far off from one another. I don't know my officers, I don't know their names, they don't know me and that creates a great problem in our community, it needs to change,” said Elder Rev. Clyde William Harris, a co-founder of the No Boundaries Coalition.
The group is asking for anti-racism and de-escalation training, a community policing model, and regular meetings between local leaders, neighbors, and officers.
“We have a force together to bring people out to vote and we're looking for actions, people to represent us, lawmakers to represent us and give us what we want,” said Elder Harris.
The Senate bill would change the way officers are trained and set new requirements for people who file complaints against officers.
The No Boundaries Coalition full report on police misconduct in West Baltimore is expected to be released next Tuesday.
Baltimore City Police Commissioner Kevin Davis released a statement on the police reform bills. “I support many of the reforms contained within these bills and believe such measures are important steps in improving the relationship between police and the community,” he said.
He added that he would be happy to talk to reform advocates and lawmakers for solutions that increase transparency within the department while still allowing officers to do their jobs effectively.