Maryland proposes statewide changes to police policy after death of Freddie Gray

Rain falls in front of a Freddie Gray mural in Baltimore.
(Image credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

A bipartisan Workgroup on Public Safety and Policing in the Maryland state assembly will present a list of 22 recommendations to the larger legislative body on Wednesday. The proposed changes to police procedure would be enacted statewide as a reform effort spurred by the 2014 death of Freddie Gray in Baltimore Police custody.

Several of the changes deal with the law enforcement "bill of rights," a special set of due process rules which provides police accused of wrongdoing an extra layer of legal protection not afforded to the general public. For example, one recommendation would lengthen the period of time during which a complaint may be filed against an officer from 90 days to one year and one day after the incident in question. Another would create independent, three-person teams so that police departments do not investigate their own misconduct cases.

The working group heard from nearly 100 witnesses from law enforcement and the Baltimore community. Its goal, said Delegate Curt Anderson (D-Baltimore City), who co-chairs the effort, is to make reforms which can move past an "us vs. them" relationship between police and citizens.

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