As counties across Maryland create state-mandated police accountability boards, questions remain about the process in Prince George's County.
People impacted by police brutality and activists rallied outside the county executive’s office Thursday to bring attention to their concerns about the creation of the police accountability board and the legislation overseeing it.
“We are involved citizens,” said Dorothy Elliott, whose son was killed by police. “We’re concerned about what's going on in our community.”
Activists say while the process is moving forward, there is little transparency.
We're making it easier for you to find stories that matter with our new newsletter — The 4Front. Sign up here and get news that is important for you to your inbox.
“We’re asking our community members to pay attention to this information, get educated to this information, step up and get involved,” said Tamara McKinney of Concerned Citizens for Bail Reform.
The Maryland General Assembly now requires law enforcement agencies to have police accountability boards made up of community members. The state provided a basic framework, but the rest is up to each locality.
Some counties have held public meetings allowing the community to weigh in throughout the process. That has not happened in Prince George's.
Prince George's County
Prince George's County, Maryland, news updates, events and information
“I would like for our county executive to put forth a real transparent plan,” said Dawn Dalton, whose son was injured by police.
In January, County Executive Angela Alsobrooks tweeted asking interested people to submit resumes for the police accountability board. Her office says they've chosen members and are awaiting confirmation from the county council before releasing names.
“The county exec has selected 11 people, who we don't know who they are, criteria or credentials,” said Beverly John of Coalition for Police Accountability. “We don't know anything about them.”
Activists, mothers and family members impacted by police brutality lobbied and testified to have state legislation passed. They say they don't want to be left out now.
“Let's sit down with the public, with the community, with the citizens of Prince George’s County and have some dialogue about what are the things that we can do to put into place to prevent this from even happening,” said Marion Gray-Hopkins, whose son was killed by police.
A spokesperson with the county executive’s office released a statement, saying in part, “The County Council has taken up the matter twice … Those meetings are open for live viewing online and can be watched online after the fact. The legislation is also available for review online, and there will be opportunity for public discussion during a public hearing that must be held as part of the legislative process. That hearing has not yet been scheduled.”
Sign up for our Breaking newsletter to get the most urgent news stories in your inbox.