Maryland Democrats Take Away Police, “Bill Of Rights” The First State in the Country To Do So: General Assemblies Message TO Cops: “You’re on Your Own.”

Maryland Democrats Vote To Take Away Police Bill Of Rights: Message To Cops: "You're On Your Own."

Maryland was the first state in the nation to adopt the Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights in 1974. Twenty states have followed suit since, but Maryland is now the first to revoke its measure.

The bill of rights had set forth a due process procedure for probing police misconduct. Maryland Democrat-controlled General Assembly voted to override Republican Gov. Larry Hogan’s vetoes on three police reform measures, which included the repeal of the state’s police bill of rights.

The new laws increase civil liability on lawsuits involving police from $400,000 to $890,000.

Officers found guilty of causing serious injury or death through excessive force would face 10 years in prison.

A newly enacted measure gives civilians a role in the disciplinary process to decide what “punishment” will fit the crime.

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

“They will result in great damage to police recruitment and retention, posing significant risks to public safety throughout our state,” Hogan wrote.

Democrat supporters of  the reforms say they are needed to increase accountability and restore public trust. One of the measures repeals job protections in the police disciplinary process, which critics said impeded accountability.

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Maryland’s General Assembly began work on the legislation enacted on Saturday in response to the police-custody death of George Floyd last year.

Democrats said the measures are long overdue while Republicans argued the “Anti Cop” law went too far.

Sen. Robert Cassilly (R): “It allows for hindsight review of folks sitting in the easy chairs to judge people who made split-second decisions in volatile situations,” when an officer fears for his or her life and the lives of others, Sen. Robert Cassilly (R) described the new laws as “anti-cop.”

The news laws make it more difficult to obtain a no-knock warrant and limit the times they can be executed to 8 a.m. and 7 p.m., except for emergencies. One of the measures expands public access to records in police disciplinary cases.

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

“They will result in great damage to police recruitment and retention, posing significant risks to public safety throughout our state,” Hogan wrote.

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.

The other would enable Baltimore voters to decide whether the state’s largest city should take full control of the police department from the state.

Separately on Saturday, the legislature also overrode Hogan’s veto of a bill that will ban sentences of life in prison without the possibility of parole for juveniles.

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