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CAIR Welcomes Maryland Lawmakers’ Step Forward on Police, Criminal Justice Reform

CAIR logo(WASHINGTON, D.C., 4/12/16) – The Maryland Outreach Department of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation's largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today welcomed news that Maryland state lawmakers passed both a police reform bill and a criminal justice reform bill. 

SEE: Police reform passes in Md. legislature; mandatory minimums eliminated (Washington Post)

The police reform bill, which contains recommendations provided by a legislative work group created in 2015 after the death of Freddie Gray in Baltimore, was passed late Monday night in the final hour before the close of the Maryland General Assembly's 2016 session. 

This development comes as Baltimore prepares to mark the one-year anniversary of Freddie Gray's death due to injuries sustained while in police custody, and the uprising that followed. 

SEE: One Year After Freddie Gray, Police Work to Heal City's Wounds (ABC News)

Specific measures in the bill include changes in police oversight, training, and hiring practices. It also includes changes to the Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights by extending the period of time residents can file a complaint against police and limiting the time an officer can take to retain an attorney for internal investigations from 10 days to five.

A broad-based coalition of social justice and civil rights organizations including Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle (LBS), ACLU-MD, CASA, NAACP Maryland State Conference, Jews United for Justice, and CAIR partnered to seek police accountability and police reform in Maryland after a substantial spike in incidents in which law enforcement officers allegedly used excessive, and in some cases lethal, force against unarmed civilians. 

State lawmakers also passed a comprehensive criminal justice reform bill known as the Justice Reinvestment Act. This bill covers various criminal justice system issues including imprisonment, parole, treatment options and matters of criminal record expungement.

CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

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CONTACT: CAIR Maryland Outreach Manager Dr. Zainab Chaudry, zchaudry@cair.com, 410-971-6062

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