Addressing the Crisis of Policing and Structural Racism in Maryland

police_violence.pngProgressive Maryland this week issued a statement against police brutality in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter protests around the state, around the country, and now around the world.

They are supporting a set of principles by the Movement for Black Lives, tailored to address the issues of policing and systemic racism in Maryland.



 

Progressive Maryland Announces Supporting Principles to Address The Crisis of Policing and Structural Racism in Maryland 

CAPITOL HEIGHTS, MARYLAND -- Progressive Maryland this week issued a statement against police brutality in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter protests around the state, around the country, and now around the world.

They are supporting a set of principles by the Movement for Black Lives, tailored to address the issues of policing and systemic racism in Maryland. The beginning of their statement includes lifting up the names of just some of the many Black people recently killed at the hands of the police across the U.S.: Ahmaud Arbery, 49957171117_101ce14ec9_b.jpgBreonna Taylor, George Floyd, Nina Pop, and Tony McDade. This week, we sadly add the name of Rayshard Brooks, killed by Atlanta police in an action now ruled a homicide.

Progressive Maryland stated that they vehemently oppose and condemn the actions of the police officers in Minneapolis who murdered George Floyd, just like the police officers in Baltimore murdered Freddie Gray and the too many other stories with the same tragic ending. They adamantly believe that the system is not ‘broken’ but was indeed never built for the Black and Brown people that have historically been mistreated by the control and abuse of power by the white people who occupy it. Progressive Maryland is calling for a process of dismantling this system, starting with our police state. 

“Collective and individual silence on the issue of anti-Blackness only serves to uphold and continue injustice. In these moments, there is no neutrality” says Larry Stafford, Executive Director of Progressive Maryland. “As a racial, social, economic and environmental justice organization, Progressive Maryland has a responsibility to our Black members and supporters to loudly speak out against anti-Blackness and affirm our support in the Movement for Black Lives. We have always and will continue to center the Black and Brown working families in our organizing work.” 

cuffed_individual.jpgProgressive Maryland is supporting the following Principles to Address The Crisis of Policing and Structural Racism in Maryland: 

  • End The War Against Black People. “Progressive Maryland demands an end to the terrorization and killing of Black people, starting with an end to the surveillance planes in Baltimore City and a divestment from all police forces across the state. We also demand an end to the criminalization and mass incarceration of Black people that comes as a result of targeted police tactics, starting with ending the war on drugs by supporting harm reduction policies, decriminalization, and legalization of marijuana. We also demand an immediate release of those who tested positive for COVID-19 in all state and county jails and detention centers to medical facilities as well as all remaining at risk populations.” 

  • Defund Policing And Invest In Harm Prevention. “Progressive Maryland demands a statewide divestment from police departments and an investment into Maryland’s Black communities. We call on municipalities and elected officials to divest resources from policing by decreasing the budget for policing; and reallocating that funding to the healthcare, housing and education our communities deserve, starting with the immediate creation of a robust housing relief fund to help residents impacted by COVID-19 pay down rent and mortgage debt. We demand robust funding for re-entry programs for those returning from incarceration. We also demand the creation of municipal programs to dispatch trained social workers instead of police officers on 911 calls that involve mental health emergencies since it is clear that police reform, such as workshops on de-escalation and crisis management, do not work.” 

  • Address The Law Enforcement Officer’s Bill Of Rights Under The Maryland Code Of Public Safety. “Progressive Maryland demands that the Officer’s Bill of Rights be drastically amended in our Code of Public Safety and immediately replaced with a legal system that requires transparency and protects the public from state violence and corruption.” 

  • Fund Black Futures. “Progressive Maryland demands economic justice for Black business and Black students who have historically been oppressed for generations, starting with the immediate overturn of Gov. Hogan’s veto of the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future and funding to Historically Black Colleges and Universities in our state.” 

Progressive Maryland led the Maryland Coalition for Justice and Police Accountability, following the murder of Freddie Grey. During the 2016 State Legislative Session, the Coalition successfully passed an omnibus bill creating greater transparency in policing.