ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — Sweeping changes could be coming to how police misconduct cases are handled. Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake just laid out her plans.
Christie Ileto has those details.READ MORE: Ex-Hyattsville Police Officer Gets Jail Time For Flashing Gun At Teens
It’s part of the mayor’s legislative priorities this session and, if passed by state lawmakers, it essentially makes it easier to hold accountable any cop who crosses the line.
The city’s top politico says cracking down on police misconduct means holding holding officers to the same legal standard as civilians.
“If a police officer commits some assault in uniform they can receive the same punishment as a civilian who did the same thing,” said Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.
The mayor rolled out her legislative priorities, including creating a new felony of misconduct in office to include any misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in prison when committed by an officer in uniform. This would include officers charged with second degree assault, like when cameras caught uniformed cop Vincent Cosum beating a suspect in front of a liquor store last June.READ MORE: COVID-19 Pandemic To Blame For High Prices At Grocery Stores
“I’ve heard from residents. They believe police are allowed to operate on a different playing field. They also were very clear the commissioner needed more authority,” the mayor said.
Right now, state law mandates a cop facing disciplinary action go before a three person trial board made of officers. If found not guilty, the case is over and the police commissioner can’t overrule it.
“Specifically legislation we’re proposing will provide the police commissioner with greater authority to discipline bad cops,” she said.
The department came under fire last summer when two police officers were accused of slashing a dog’s throat they believed was attacking a pregnant woman and when an on-duty cop drove to his wife’s boyfriend’s home and attacked them before clocking back in on his shift.MORE NEWS: Little Italy Set To Debut A New Mural Celebrating Italian Culture And A Few Local Icons
Since 2011, the city has paid almost $6 million in settlements alleging police brutality and misconduct.