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CAIR Urges Maryland Lawmakers to Fix Unconstitutional Amendments, Take Meaningful Action on Police Reform Bills in General Assembly

(BALTIMORE, MD, 2/25/2021) – The Maryland office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today urged state lawmakers to take meaningful action on critical police reform bills being debated in the Maryland General Assembly, and to fix problematic, unconstitutional amendments that create a new legal standard for “use of force” that would permit officers to use force to “gain compliance” or “take control of a situation.”  

Members of the Senate Judicial Proceedings (JPR) committee are being urged to pass Senate Bill 626 Law Enforcement Officers’ Use of Force with the explicit standard that officers “can only apply force when it is necessary as a last resort,” not to “gain compliance or control a situation” as the bill currently stands after amendments accepted during last night’s committee vote hearing.

CAIR is also urging JPR committee members to pass Senate Bills 627 (LEOBR Repeal) and 178 (Anton’s Law) without problematic amendments that dilute their original intent and render them far less likely to improve community trust in policing and ensure accountability in instances of officer misconduct.

Finally, the civil rights organization is calling on House Speaker Adrienne Jones, and the House Judiciary Committee’s Chair Luke Clippinger and Vice-Chair Vanessa Atterbeary to adopt amendments to House Bills 670 (Police Reform and Accountability Act) and 671 (Public Information Act – Personnel Records – Complaints Against Police Officers) proposed by the Maryland Coalition for Justice and Police Accountability (MCJPA) to restore language that would grant community oversight of law enforcement in Maryland.  

“Ensuring fair, equitable and safer policing practices for future generations starts with enacting meaningful reforms and measures now at the state level to help promote accountability and justice,” said CAIR’s Director in Maryland Zainab Chaudry. “This also requires not introducing new, unconstitutional standards that fail to address the problem and would only create further headaches down the road. We urge our elected leaders to center the pain of impacted families living with the anguish of losing a loved one to police violence, pay attention to advocates’ concerns and adopt MCJPA’s position on the language of these bills.”

The Maryland Coalition for Justice & Police Accountability (MCJPA) is a large, diverse, statewide coalition of 90+ organizations united to demand 5 police reforms:

  • Repeal the Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights (LEOBR).
  • Restore control of the Baltimore City Police Department to Baltimore City residents.
  • Make investigations into police misconduct transparent.
  • Limit the use of force by law enforcement.
  • Remove police from our children’s schools.  

SEE: https://www.mcjpa.org/who-we-are

Who We Are – Maryland Coalition for Justice & Police Accountability (MCJPA) — MCJPA

The Maryland Coalition for Justice & Police Accountability (MCJPA) is a large, diverse, statewide coalition of 90+ organizations united to demand 5 police reforms.

www.mcjpa.org

CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, protect civil rights, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.  

La misión de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, mejorar la comprensión del Islam, promover la justicia, y empoderar a los musulmanes en los Estados Unidos.  

END    

CONTACT: CAIR Office in Maryland Director Zainab Chaudry, zchaudry@cair.com, 410-971-6062; CAIR Government Affairs Intern Huzzaifa Muhammad, mdintern@cair.com  

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