Baltimore News

Baltimore County Council passes police reform laws

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Tuesday, October 6, 2020
Associated Press

TOWSON, Md. (AP) — Baltimore County’s council has passed reforms to its police department’s use-of-force policies, including legislation that bans chokeholds and adds additional oversight measures.

The council passed 6-1 on Monday the SMART Policing Act, which limits the Baltimore County Police Department’s use of force, gives protection to officers who report excessive use of force, and encourages officer intervention in situations where such force is used, news outlets reported.

Under the new legislation, police will be required to obtain medical assistance for injured people in custody, The Baltimore Sun said. The department will also be prohibited from hiring officers who have been fired from other jurisdictions over disciplinary issues.

The act also increases de-escalation and bias training for officers, as well as establishes a system to identify officers at risk of misconduct, according to The Sun. It requires the department to release more information about its use of force and all police encounters involving shootings or deaths.

The reforms come as police departments across the country have faced calls to review their practices and funding during nationwide demonstrations against police brutality and racial inequality.

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