Jewish tradition teaches that “One must not stand idly by while your neighbor’s blood is shed” (Leviticus 19:16). Millions of us have witnessed the life of George Floyd end beneath the knee of a police officer as fellow officers stood by and ignored pleas to intervene, just one recent death in a long line of Black people abused and killed by police officers across this country — including right here in Baltimore County.
County Councilmember Julian Jones has introduced bill #73-20 to hold Baltimore County police accountable to the community, restrict use of force, and to make sure that officers who do the right thing are protected from retaliation.
JUFJ leaders submitted public testimony in support of this bill during the County Council work session on Tuesday, 7/28. Read below to learn why JUFJ leader Jody Harburger supports this bill.
I am Jody Harburger, living in Owings Mills in the 4th Baltimore County Council district.
I was very pleased to read County Executive Johnny Olszewski’s June 12 announcement of the steps he plans to improve Baltimore County Police accountability and equitable policing.
I see Councilman Julian Jones bill # 73-20 as a codification in to law of a number of County Executive Olszewski’s June 12 announced steps. By passing this bill the council will make clear that the necessary steps will be taken to assure the intended accountability for equitable policing in the County. Further, you will assure that compliance is neither voluntary nor that it can be waved by subsequent administrations. This bill legislates:
- Training of police officers in de-escalation techniques
- Prohibits use of chokeholds
- Makes ineligible for service as a Baltimore County police officer those persons who have shown or who show themselves to be non-compliant with the Department’s equitable policing standards.
- Requires that police officers to intervene and report when or if they witness another Police officer using unnecessary or excessive force
- Requires that police officers to render or call for medical aid when needed
- Requires collection, analysis, publication and display of certain data to Federal and State databases and therefore to the public
- Requires appointment of members of the public, by this Council, to any Baltimore Police Conduct Hearing Board
I spoke with Councilman Patoka’s office and was told that he will vote yes on this bill and I thank him for his pledge of support.
I call on all the members of this Council and County Executive Olszewski to work together with Councilmen Jones and Patoka to enact Bill # 73-20 at your August 3 County Council session.