By Yanet Amanuel, public policy director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland, and Joanna Silver, policy committee co-chair of the Silver Spring Justice Coalition
The Sept. 20 editorial “Honor — and follow — Anton’s Law” was correct that Maryland police should provide the transparency that Anton’s Law requires. But it is not “too soon to reach a final verdict on Montgomery County’s arrangement.” Montgomery gives its police union and individual officers 10 business days to seek a court injunction to prevent the county from releasing police misconduct records under the Maryland Public Information Act (MPIA).
The General Assembly passed Anton’s Law to ensure transparency and accountability in policing by granting the public the right to timely access of police misconduct records with very narrow exceptions. Montgomery County’s agreement with Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 35 (FOP) undermines this intent and is in direct conflict with Anton’s Law which specifies that notice is to be given to an officer “when the record is inspected,” not in advance of such inspection.
The county’s assertion that the a memorandum of agreement is needed to “help prevent mistakes” is not credible.