Maryland Considers Leading Baltimore Police Corruption Investigation, Taking Reform Statewide
The state of Maryland and the city of Baltimore differ in how they want to pursue Baltimore police reform, further investigating police corruption and changing extensive due process rights for police officers under state law.
As an amendment to a Maryland state bill that calls for regular state auditing of the Baltimore Police Department, a Commission to Restore Trust in Policing would conduct a 20-month investigation into police corruption with a preliminary report due at the end of 2018, according to the Baltimore Sun.
The state level investigative commission would have subpoena power and could call witnesses to testify.
But already under federal consent decree, new Police Commissioner Darryl De Sousa is working to set up his own independent commission.
After the federal conviction of eight Baltimore police officers, (six officers plead guilty to racketeering, robbery and other charges) city leadership is hoping to convince state lawmakers to approve changes to current law that provides officers with extensive due process rights, according to Policeone.com. City Solicitor Andre Davis said troubling details had emerged during federal investigation of the department’s Gun Trace Task Force, and city police commissioners need more authority to hold officers accountable.
Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh said she opposes the proposal to establish a state commission because the city is already under federal consent decree, and would prefer the independent body set up by De Sousa.
State Senator Bill Ferguson, who has proposed regular state auditing of the city police department and proposed the commission said he does not believe an internal investigation by city police would restore trust.
An internal investigation can’t change state laws. The consent decree can’t change state laws. Only the governor and the General Assembly can change laws. If the Baltimore Police Department is to remain a state entity, there must be state investment in reforms.”