FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 4, 2016
CONTACT: Brittany Oliver, ACLU of Maryland, 410-889-8555; firstname.lastname@example.org
BALTIMORE, MD - In a victory for the movement for police accountability, Baltimore City Circuit Judge Jeffrey Michael Geller today dismissed a Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) lawsuit against the City Civilian Review Board (CRB) and the Baltimore Police Department (BPD). The suit had sought to permanently bar the BPD from providing records of Internal Affairs investigations to the CRB and to permanently strip the CRB of its right to review internal affairs records, even though state law actually mandates such review.
In July, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Maryland and the Baltimore Campaign for Justice Safety and Jobs (CJSJ), filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the case arguing that the FOP lawsuit was a meritless and obvious attempt to shut down any possibility of civilian oversight of police in Maryland. In the brief, the organizations, which collectively represent thousands of Baltimore and Maryland residents, contended that the FOP's extreme positions perpetuate distrust by reinforcing the perception that police believe they are above the law.
"Rather than being a legitimate voice for its members, the FOP has again and again proven itself to be the single biggest barrier to building trust between police and the people they are sworn to serve and protect," said Sonia Kumar, ACLU staff attorney. "Today's ruling rejecting the FOP's baseless lawsuit against the Civilian Review Board and the city is a victory in the fight for basic police accountability and an opportunity for the FOP to change course and embrace a meaningful accountability role for the communities being policed."
CJSJ member organizations include 1199 SEIU, ACLU of Maryland, Amnesty International, Baltimore Algebra Project, Beats, Rhymes, and Relief, Bmore United, CASA, City Bloc, Communities United, Council on American-Islamic Relations, Equity Matters, Empowerment Temple, Freddie Gray Project, Fusion Group, Jews United for Justice, Justice League, Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle, Making Change, Maryland State Conference NAACP, Peace by Piece, Pleasant Hope Baptist Church, Power Inside, SEIU 32BJ, Southern Engagement Foundation, Ujima People's Progress, and Universal Zulu Nation.