On March 3rd, 2020, LDF’s Director of State Advocacy and Deputy Director of Policy, Monique Dixon, testified before the Maryland House of Delegates on the need to expand House Bill 1221. HB 1221 would amend the Maryland Public Information Act (MPIA) to permit the release of records relating to formal police misconduct complaints under certain circumstances. LDF respectfully opposes the bill unless it is amended to permit the release of additional categories of misconduct complaints.
“HB 1221 takes a step in the right direction toward addressing this problem by allowing the disclosure of a limited category of job-related police misconduct complaints involving: the discharge of a firearm; the use of force by a law enforcement officer resulting in deadly or serious bodily injury; and a sustained investigatory finding that a law enforcement officer committed a sexual assault against a member of the public, engaged in dishonesty, committed perjury or falsified reports or evidence or engaged in prohibited discrimination related to the reporting, investigation, or prosecution of a crime. The bill, however, does not go far enough.
We urge amendments to HB 1221 that would permit the release of all personnel records relating to investigations of police misconduct complaints regardless of the type of complaint and outcome and limited only by the exemptions that already exist in the MPIA. Doing so would bring Maryland in line with a dozen other states that release most police disciplinary records. Additionally, in the spirit of transparency, Maryland law enforcement agencies must collect, analyze and report on the complaints filed against law enforcement officers and their outcome.”
Read the submitted testimony here.