Baltimore Mayor Lauds Maryland Police Accountability Act as ‘Once-in-a-Generation Opportunity for Meaningful’ Police Reform

By Neha Malhi and Mathew Seibert

BALTIMORE, MD – Baltimore Mayor Brandon M. Scott has lauded the Maryland Police Accountability Act of 2021 (House Bill 670), calling it a “once-in-a-generation opportunity for meaningful police accountability reforms that have eluded Baltimoreans, and Maryland residents, for decades.” 

In a guest commentary in The Baltimore Sun, Scott added, “When I ran for mayor, I promised to transform our city’s approach to crime reduction, moving us from being focused solely on law enforcement to a comprehensive, holistic approach to public safety that centers on public health.”

“House Bill 670 is now the law of the land, and jurisdictions across the state of Maryland, including Baltimore City, have been tasked with creating three interlinking civilian oversight boards through local legislation by July 1: The Police Accountability Board (PAB), the Administrative Charging Committee (ACC) and the Trial Board,” the mayor noted.

According to the Maryland General Assembly, HB 670 “prohibits a police officer from preventing a citizen from recording the officer’s actions if the citizen is otherwise acting lawfully and safely.”

The measure “establishes the Maryland Loan Assistance Repayment Program for Police Officers and the Maryland Police Officers Scholarship Program, requiring the Police Training and Standards Commission to take certain actions in response to violations of a certain Use of Force Statute, requiring each county to have a police accountability board.”

Under the proposed legislation, all complaints regarding potential police misconduct cases will be handled by the PAB. Moreover, PAB will be able to hold meetings with law enforcement and will be able to issue public reports about police misconduct in Baltimore city.

Proposed Legislation gives ACC the task of overseeing three boards, which includes assessing alleged police misconduct individually based on the initial findings of BPD such as reviewing body camera footage.

A Trial Board will be set up to review the evidence and hear an appeal, for police officers receiving discipline.

Mayor Scott wrote, “Transparency, accountability, and meaningful civilian oversight of the police are principles that will underline Baltimore City’s Police Accountability Boards Process. As your mayor, I am committed to getting it right because we cannot afford to do anything less.”

About The Author

Neha Malhi is graduating from UCLA this summer with BA in Economics. she is from LA, California.

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