For Immediate Release: May 26, 2015

Contact: Samuel Walker, 

BALTIMORE, MD - Today, a new report entitled "The Baltimore Police Union Contract and the Law Enforcement Officers' Bill of Rights: Impediments to Accountability" was released by Samuel Walker of the University of Nebraska at Omaha. The report follows the recent tragic death of Freddie Gray while in the custody of Baltimore police officers, which raised serious questions about the circumstances of his death and the practices of Baltimore officers in dealing with members of the public. The report focuses on the role that provisions in the Baltimore Police Union contract play in impeding effective investigations of reported misconduct and shielding officers who are in fact guilty of misconduct from meaningful discipline. The report also includes recommendations for reform.

The following can be attributed to Samuel Walker, University of Nebraska at Omaha:

"Police union contracts shield police officers from meaningful accountability all across the country. The Maryland 10-day waiting period before they can be questioned is simply the most excessive one in this category. It is time for the public take back this issue, to publicize the costs in terms of financial damages for brutality incidents and the loss of public confidence in the police."

The following can be attributed to Susan Goering, Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland: 

"This new report by Samuel Walker adds information and tools to the growing movement in Baltimore to hold law enforcement accountable to the communities they serve. Police union contracts are an important factor in how police departments operate - for example, governing misconduct investigations - yet they are typically insulated from meaningful public review. Walker's report is huge value added because it also highlights best practices from other large cities, as well as problems with the Law Enforcement Officers' Bill of Rights that have not yet been widely raised.