Last summer, after the killing of Robert White, an unarmed Black man out for a walk in his Silver Spring neighborhood, by a Montgomery County police officer, the Montgomery County police investigated the incident. They handed over their evidence to Howard County prosecutors, who unsurprisingly decided that the shooting was “justified.” There was no report on the investigation that the public could see.
The killing of Robert White was unacceptable, and the investigation of his killing was unaccountable.
In his first legislation since taking office last month, Councilmember Will Jawando introduced the Law Enforcement Trust and Transparency (LETT) Act to address this lack of accountability. The LETT Act will remove Montgomery County police officers from the investigation of shootings and killings by Montgomery County police officers.
Instead, the bill requires that investigations be conducted by an outside local, state, or federal law enforcement agency. The investigators will then prepare a written report, and that report will be made public if no criminal charges are filed against the officer.
Councilmember Jawando’s legislation is a critical step towards transparency and accountability for law enforcement in Montgomery County. We are grateful to him for prioritizing this important issue and making it his first act on the County Council.
Let’s pass the LETT Act.