Apr 10, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Maryland lawmakers override Hogan vetoes of police accountability legislation

Marion Gray Hopkins with Coalition of Concerned Mothers speaks during a rally promoting police reform on March 4, 2021 in Annapolis, Maryland.
Marion Gray Hopkins with Coalition of Concerned Mothers speaks during a rally promoting police reform on March 4 in Annapolis, Maryland. Photo: Bonnie Jo Mount/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Maryland's Democratic-controlled legislature on Saturday voted to override Republican Gov. Larry Hogan's vetoes of police accountability legislation.

Why it matters: Maryland is the first state to repeal its Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights, the Washington Post notes.

Catch up quick: Hogan on Friday vetoed three of the five bills in the police accountability package, claiming the legislation would "result in great damage to police recruitment and retention, posing significant risks to public safety throughout the state."

  • By Saturday evening, the state legislature had voted to override all three vetoes.

Details: The legislation outlines a new procedure for disciplining officers accused of wrongdoing that would replace the powerful police bill of rights, according to the Post. Civilians would play a role in the process.

  • The measures also include changes to the state's use-of-force guidelines, a mandate for the use of body cameras statewide and limits on the use of no-knock search warrants, among other reforms.
  • The state legislature also voted to override Hogan's veto of a bill that allows individuals sentenced to life in prison as juveniles to become eligible for parole.

What they're saying: State Delegate Gabriel Acevero (D) on Saturday called Hogan a "coward" for vetoing the measures.

  • Delegate Vanessa Atterbeary (D) said Friday night, "this is not anti-police legislation; this is equality and fairness legislation," per the Post.
  • Maryland State Fraternal Order of Police President Clyde Boatwright earlier Saturday thanked Hogan for the vetoes the measures, saying the legislation, if enacted, would "further erode morale, community relationships, and public confidence."

The big picture: Following last year's racial justice protests after the police killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and other Black people, Maryland Democrats prioritized passing the comprehensive police accountability legislation, per the Post.

  • One of the bills was named "Anton's Law," in honor of Anton Black, who died in 2018 after police in a rural town on Maryland's Eastern Shore pinned the 19-year-old down for several minutes.
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