The Maryland Coalition for Justice and Police Accountability (MCJPA) filed a motion to intervene in a dangerous legal effort by the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 35 (FOP) in Montgomery County to block access to records of police misconduct that should be accessible to the public.
MCJPA is acting to defend the community transparency protections at the core of Anton’s Law. They are asking the court first to unseal proceedings in the case, and then to reject the FOP’s lawsuit.
The lawsuit stemmed from a side deal between the FOP and Montgomery County that improperly gives the union notice of requests under Maryland’s Public Information Act for police misconduct records that Anton’s Law was intended to make available. If the FOP’s claims in this case succeed, they will eviscerate a hard-won legislative mandate for transparency meant to build trust between police and community members.
On Feb. 24, 2023, Judge Karla Smith granted the right of the Maryland Coalition for Justice and Police Accountability to intervene in the Montgomery County FOP lawsuit. The judge vacated Montgomery County’s agreement with the FOP to litigate the case in secret, saying it was improper. Judge also said the County does not adequately represent MCJPA’s interests. Now, MCJPA hopes that the court will reject the FOP’s lawsuit.