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Mayor Says She’ll Fight Until ‘Sine Die’ For Police Reform

P. Kenneth Burns

Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said Monday she is disappointed that her General Assembly bills to hold police officers more accountable for their actions have “already died” or are on their “last legs.”  But, she said, she is “even more energized” to continue implementing reforms of the city police department she started that have led to a drop in citizen complaints and an increase in officers being punished for misconduct.

The mayor spoke at a news conference Monday before leaving for Annapolis to lobby lawmakers to pass her bill that would remove the right to a police trial board hearing for an officer who is found guilty of a misdemeanor that is punishable by at least a year in jail.

Rawlings-Blake said she will ask lawmakers what changes she can make to get the bill out of the House committee where it has languished since the beginning of the session and before the full General Assembly.

“I’m not going to let Sine Die pass without trying,” she said, adding that she will also ask what it will take to get her proposed reforms passed in the future.

Another bill, which would have created a new felony charge of "misconduct in office” for officers, was voted down by the House Judiciary Committee March 17. The new charge would have been applied to officers charged with a misdemeanor that carries a jail sentence of more than a year stemming from their actions while on duty.

“Despite not getting the outcome we wanted or that we hoped for in Annapolis, Baltimore remains in a strong position to continue to move forward and to continue to make progress,” the mayor said.