See below for leader testimony on the proposed Police Accountability Board bill in Baltimore County. Phil Miller, a JUFJ leader, wrote this testimony.
My name is Phil Miller. I am a resident of Pikesville in county district 2, represented by Councilman Patoka.
I also am an active member of JUFJ, Jews United for Justice.
Jewish communities in Baltimore County and all over the world have just marked the eight day holiday of Passover, celebrating and re telling the story of the biblical Exodus from Egypt. Passover’s most important and sacred ritual is the seder; where families and friends gather to delve into the exodus story and its contemporary applications. At my family’s seder, I spoke with my children and grandchildren about what this ancient story teaches us today. Having left Egypt, the story obligates us to establish and support a society whose hallmark is freedom and Justice, governed by a fully transparent representative democracy.
It is in the spirit of Passover that I speak to you today about BC bill 24-22. The Maryland Police Accountability act offers our county a sacred opportunity to enhance these exodus commitments. However 24-22 requires changes in order for us to do so. The bill was drafted before any community forums took place. Thus, the bill does not reflect the needs of the whole community, especially those parts of our community most impacted by over policing. Additionally, in the Passover spirit of representative democracy, the membership of the Police Accountability Board must reflect the full diversity of people living in our county. In service to the goal of transparency, the PAB cannot have members who have any conflict of interest such. It must have independent investigatory powers and it’s own independent counsel.
Council members, I thank you for your time today and urge you to reimagine this bill into legislation which meets the standard of the Exodus obligations with which I began. Thank you.