Read a PDF of our statement here.
LDF and ACLU of MD Call for Transparency from Maryland Courts Concerning Police Conduct
A rule-making committee of the Maryland Court of Appeals met today and voted unanimously to reverse their decision to remove police officers’ names from a public online database of court cases. The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) and the ACLU of Maryland sent a letter to the Standing Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure calling for the Committee to keep officers’ full names in the online database and opposing any proposal that would limit inclusion to officers’ last names only or last names with first initial.
In light of the egregious police misconduct unearthed by the criminal trials of members of the Baltimore Police Department’s (BPD) Gun Trace Task Force as well as the U.S. Justice Department’s scathing report on the BPD, LDF and ACLU of Maryland’s letter calls for maintaining full transparency concerning law enforcement conduct. The letter notes that keeping officers’ full names in the database will help the public track police officers who are involved in criminal cases, which could reveal a pattern of unlawful policing practices. Access to this type of information will be crucial to the Baltimore community’s ability to monitor the federal consent decree and hold their police department accountable. The letter also highlights how proponents of secrecy cannot point to a single case in Maryland where the existence of an officer’s full name in the database has led to any negative consequences.
Read the full letter here.
Founded in 1940, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) is the nation’s first civil and human rights law organization and has been completely separate from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) since 1957—although LDF was originally founded by the NAACP and shares its commitment to equal rights. LDF’s Thurgood Marshall Institute is a multi-disciplinary and collaborative hub within LDF that launches targeted campaigns and undertakes innovative research to shape the civil rights narrative. In media attributions, please refer to us as the NAACP Legal Defense Fund or LDF.