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Maryland’s Legislature overrode three vetos of Gov. Larry Hogan this weekend, clearing the way for new laws that enhance transparency into police complaints but eliminate five-decade old protections for officers known as the Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights.
Democrats hailed the new laws as police reform that accentuated that black lives matter, while Republicans said the changes would endanger public safety and erode law enforcement morale and recruitment.
“They will result in great damage to police recruitment and retention, posing significant risks to public safety throughout our state,” Hogan wrote in his veto message Friday night, declaring the police reform effort was overtaken by political agendas and will “further erode police morale, community relationships, and public confidence.”
The Maryland Police Accountability Act revises the disciplinary process for officers accused of misconduct, allowing public scrutiny of complaints and internal affairs files even when officers are cleared of wrongdoing. The law also requires officers use only “necessary” and “proportional” force, creating additional penalties of up to 10 years in prison for those who engage in excessive force. And it places limits on “no-knock” warrants, according to the Baltimore Sun.
Democrats hailed the package as the most sweeping reforms in Maryland history, and a necessary redress in racial relations.