News & Politics

Maryland Legislature Overrides Governor's Veto to Repeal Police Bill of Rights

(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

Maryland’s Police Bill of Rights covers due process for officers accused of misconduct. The state’s Democratic legislature decided that instead of reforming the process, they would repeal it entirely. They are replacing it with a series of measures designed to make it harder for police to do their jobs and measures that, in some cases, would make it more dangerous.

GOP Governor Larry Hogan tried to veto the bills, but the legislature overrode him.

“Maryland is leading the country in transforming our broken policing system,” Maryland House of Delegates Speaker Adrienne Jones, a Democrat, wrote in a tweet Saturday. “Now, for the first time in our nation’s history, the rights of officers will not be held above the rights of individuals, and policing in Maryland will be transparent and citizen-centered.”

Well, it will be centered on some citizens, anyway.


Another one of the bills Hogan vetoed will require “certain” no-knock warrants to be approved by both a supervisor and the State’s Attorney and be between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m., barring “exigent circumstances.”

One of the new laws will also require officers to use force only if it is “necessary and proportional.”

I guess they figure criminals don’t want to be woken out of a sound sleep.

And what is a “proportional” response? I guess it means if someone goes after the cops with a knife, police can only defend themselves with their own knives. No guns, please. And if the perp only fires one round, cops can’t fire two.

The problem with a policy of “proportional response” is that it requires an adversary to play by the same rules. Do legislators really believe that gangbangers are going to throw down their MAC-10s when confronted by an officer with a service revolver?


Hogan tried to inject some common sense into the debate in his veto message.

“These bills would undermine the goal that I believe we share of building transparent, accountable, and effective law enforcement institutions and instead further erode police morale, community relationships, and public confidence,” Hogan said in a statement. “They will result in great damage to police recruitment and retention, posing significant risks to public safety throughout our state.”

As usual, activists took off after Hogan, accusing him of the crime of “not caring” about black and brown kids.

State Del. Vanessa Atterbeary, a Democrat, hit back at Hogan in a tweet Friday, saying he “doesn’t stand with Black & Brown people in the state.”

“He is telling Black Marylanders that systemic racism in policing doesn’t exist here. SHAME ON HIM,” Atterbeary said. “He is telling my children & all other Black children in the state he does NOT care about their futures. SHAME ON HIM. SHAME ON HIM.”

Hogan never said, “systemic racism doesn’t exist.” He was trying to find a middle ground between the radicals and the common-sense reformers. This particular “reform” bill wouldn’t solve anything and it would only endanger the public and law enforcement officers.

Under the guise of “reform,” the radicals are ensuring that police will suffer vindictive prosecutions and allow violent criminals a free hand in many neighborhoods. That’s not a solution that most people would find palatable.