TOWSON, Md. (WJZ)– Baltimore County’s executive unveiled reforms in the wake of questions swirling around several people who’ve lost their lives in confrontations with police.
“We’re confident that the steps we’re taking today are steps that will improve the police department,” said County Executive Kevin Kamenetz.
Tawon Boyd died as officers responded to a medical call last month.
“One police officer got his arm around his neck, punching him, punching him,” said Deona Styron, Boyd’s fiance.
Korryn Gaines is the armed woman who died after live-streaming her standoff with police. The bullet went through her body and hit her five-year-old son.
“She was killed like an animal and people will be held accountable,” said Jimmy Bell, the Gaines’ family attorney.
The county executive repeatedly declined to talk about Korryn Gaines’ case because of a pending lawsuit.
“There’s no one incident, but it’s many different experiences that have taken place that has lead us to the conclusion that we’re good but we can always be better,” said Kamenetz.
A new task force will look at ways officers can deescalate volatile situations, but the county executive says there’s no need to change the way investigations are conducted into police-involved deaths.
“We do have independent review, and that’s called the independently elected state’s attorney for Baltimore County,” said Kamenetz.
The county will speed up the number of officers wearing body cameras. 1,435 of them will be on the streets by October next year–more than a year sooner than initially planned.
Police are also changing how they deal with sexual assault reports–requiring a specialized detective to interview every victim and suspect. That follows a scathing investigation in BuzzFeed–that claimed police classified dozens of assaults as unfounded–without looking into them at all.