Sunday Star

Lawmakers override vetoes on police reform

- BY BRIAN WITTE

Maryland lawmakers voted Saturday to override Republican Gov. Larry Hogan’s vetoes of three far-reaching police reform measures that supporters say are needed to increase accountabi­lity and restore public trust.

One of the measures repeals job protection­s in the police disciplina­ry process that critics say impede accountabi­lity. Maryland approved the nation’s first Law Enforcemen­t Officers Bill of Rights in 1974, and about 20 states have adopted similar laws setting due process procedure for investigat­ing police misconduct. The package includes provisions to increase the civil liability limit on lawsuits involving police from $400,000 to $890,000. An officer convicted of causing serious injury or death through excessive force would face 10 years in prison.

Sen. Robert Cassilly, a Republican, described the legislatio­n as “anti-cop.”

Hogan also vetoed legislatio­n with a new statewide use-of-force policy and mandated use of body cameras statewide by July 2025.

Another vetoed measure would expand public access to records in police disciplina­ry cases and limit the use of no-knock warrants. Under the bill, police could only use no-knock warrants between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m., except in an emergency.

In his veto message, Hogan wrote that he believed the measures would “further erode police morale, community relationsh­ips, and public confidence.”

The measure is named after Anton Black, a 19-yearold African American who died in police custody in

2018 in a rural town on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.

Hogan wrote that two measures would go into effect without his signature.

One of them would create a unit in the attorney general’s office to investigat­e police-involved deaths and prohibit law enforcemen­t from buying surplus military equipment.

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