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MD. Lawmakers Push for Police Reform

Baltimore rioting in response to the death of a 25-year-old Black man who died from injuries in police custody is spurring lawmakers in Maryland to take action on criminal justice reform.

Congressional leaders have attempted to pass the legislation in the past, but it has stalled in the statehouse. One of the laws would alter a  Maryland law that grants police special rights.

“Unfortunately for Freddie Gray, he becomes symbolic of similar type of issues facing police departments across the nation,” said state Senator Catherine Pugh.

Hughes, who is co-chair of a 20-member bipartisan working group, has been pushing for the law to pass. The bipartisan group was appointed this month to study police issues.

Maryland is the latest to deal with reforms after the death of unarmed Black males at the hands of police in its state.

South Carolina recently passed legislation that approved body cameras for all police. California’s state senate has approved a bill banning prosecutors from convening secret grand juries to investigate claims of police brutality.

Both governors in New York and Ohio have also called for reviews of police force in their states.

Baltimore has recorded 107 homicides this year as of Monday, up from 74 at the same time last year. Police did not provide a total number of murders since Gray’s death on April 19, but the Baltimore Sun said there had been 47 killings in that period.