In Prince George's County, the community delayed a vote on the county's new police accountability board.
Maryland is requiring all law enforcement in the state to have the oversight panels and each locality must appoint members and approve legislation to govern the boards.
“My son was shot 14 times while sitting in the front seat of a police cruiser,” said Dorothy Elliott, whose son was killed by police.
For almost 30 years, Elliott has advocated for change within the Prince George's County Police Department, and each year the group of mothers around her, whose families have experienced police violence, has grown.
“My son is not the man he was before he was assaulted and dragged through the criminal justice system,” Dawn Dalton said.
Advocates who fought for creating local police accountability boards statewide want to be included in the local process. Critics say County Executive Angela Alsobrooks selected members for the police accountability board and drafted language to govern it without the community's input.
“It’s no wonder that many Prince George’s residents don’t trust police. This situation is unacceptable, and you have a chance to change it,” resident John Spillane said.
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“Bill 2122 was drafted without the community so does not reflect the community’s wants,” said Lorena Diaz of the Maryland ACLU.
In January, Alsobrooks tweeted asking interested people to submit resumes. Her office conducted interviews and appointed members. The office says names will be released once the Council confirms them.
The Council was expected to approve the county executive's proposals Tuesday but decided to wait after several speakers objected.
“When you essentially nominate or appoint individuals without a public process, we have a long way to go,” Councilman Ed Burroughs said.
“Let me just be clear that we want to work with everyone to get this right; we’ve got to get this right this time,” Chief Administrative Officer for Public Safety & Homeland Security Barry Stanton said. “And let me just say we haven’t gotten all the amendments either. So, it helps us to go back and review the amendments by Monday and see where we stand from administration and the county executive's position.”
Amendments have been proposed to the Council in hopes of doing just that. They will be looked at Monday.
According to the state's legislation, the police accountability boards are supposed to be in place by July 1. Attorney for the Council and county executive's office are looking into what happens if they are unable to meet the deadline.
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