xml:space="preserve">
xml:space="preserve">
Advertisement
Advertisement

Proposal to bring back Annapolis ‘drug-loitering free zone’ deemed unconstitutional in 2001 dropped

A proposal to create a “drug-loitering free zone” near the site of a homicide last month in Annapolis has been dropped after an alderman and the city’s own attorney questioned whether it was legal.

Resolution R-63-20, sponsored by Mayor Gavin Buckley and the head of the City Council public safety committee, would have reestablished a measure deemed unconstitutional after the NAACP sued the city in 2001. It is the second crime-related measure to run into resistance on the council this month.

Advertisement

The resolution before the Annapolis City Council Monday night was withdrawn because it was “legally insufficient,” the Annapolis City Attorney Mike Lyles said.

The withdrawal comes just one day before Buckley’s administration announced a committee that will study a planned police review commission.

Advertisement
Advertisement

R-63-20 would have created a 1,000-foot-wide “drug-loitering free zone” in Ward 2 where Annapolis police officers would be given license to order people to leave — or even charge them with a misdemeanor — if they were suspected of drug-related activity. Officers who “received reliable information” that someone was suspected of such activity or the person was “a known unlawful drug user, possessor, seller or buyer” could also be made to leave, under the bill.

Such zones were found to be “unconstitutionally vague and overbroad,” according to a 2001 lawsuit brought against the city by the Anne Arundel chapter of the NAACP.

“As it stands now, the code needs some changing or repeal because it sounds just generally unconstitutional,” Lyles said.

Alderman Fred Paone, a Republican who represents the Ward 2 neighborhood where the zone would have been located, said he had no input in the drafting of the resolution.

Advertisement

“I think, and the city attorney agreed with me, that it’s unconstitutional as written,” Paone said. “It’s too indefinite, in my opinion, and it does allow somebody to be arrested for something that they don’t even know is illegal. It leaves too much to the eye of the observer if you will.”

The zone comprised a circle within 500 feet of a home in the 100 block of Clay Street, which included nearly all of Clay Street between West Washington Street and Ridout Street and the Obery Court community, according to a map of the zone included with the legislation.

A map of a proposed drug-loitering free zone in Annapolis’s Ward 2 that would be established by resolution R-63-20. The bill was pulled after being deemed "legally insufficient."
A map of a proposed drug-loitering free zone in Annapolis’s Ward 2 that would be established by resolution R-63-20. The bill was pulled after being deemed "legally insufficient." (Courtesy Photo)

According to a staff report of the bill, the property owner requested the zone be created due to three or more arrests for drug activity in the area, which is still currently allowed by City Code.They could not be reached for comment.

The home is near the site of a quadruple shooting in October that left a 28-year-old Baltimore man dead and injured three others, including two teenage girls. The shooting was related to a disagreement at a party, Jackson said at the time.

This is a second police-related initiative that has run afoul of the council in recent weeks. The other was a $100,000 state grant to fund an analytics-driven “predictive policing” program in the Annapolis Police Department. The funding, awarded by Gov. Larry Hogan’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention, raised concerns among council members that it could lead to discrimination and racial profiling.

The grant allocation will be discussed at the Dec. 7 Public Safety Committee. Members of the Maryland Crime Research and Innovation Center will be in attendance to answer questions about the program, Pindell-Charles said.

Police review commission

The Civilian Review Board Advisory Panel will be responsible for helping draft legislation to form “a comprehensive, informative, and inclusive” review board based on “best practices, review models and current trends,” according to a statement released by the mayor’s office.

The City Council is expected to draft and vote on the legislation next year.

The panel includes a mix of community organizers, civil rights figures, non-profit heads, current and former law enforcement officers, attorneys and religious leaders.

“In an era where many are looking for trust and transparency in policing, I am grateful that these 18 people have agreed to step forward,” Buckley said. “With the depth and breadth of knowledge and experience these individuals are bringing to our Advisory Panel, I know that the Civilian Review Board in Annapolis will be off to a strong start.”

The city announced plans for the advisory board in June less than two weeks after George Floyd was killed by Minneapolis police.

The advisory panel, and the subsequent civilian review board it hopes to create, is another step in the community policing model championed by Annapolis Police Chief Ed Jackson, which is meant to increase trust and transparency of the department.

Will Rowel, a senior advisor to Buckley, has been tapped to lead the project.

“Enhancing community trust, responding to crises, and addressing systemic issues related to equity are just some of the drivers of a Civilian Review Board in Annapolis,” Rowel said. “However, thoughtful leadership, partnership, and governance for this work is crucial for success and sustainability.”

The advisory panel includes:

  • Phil Ateto, a community advocate.
  • Judy Buddensick, chair of the Annapolis Police Foundation and a member of the chief’s advisory panel.
  • Justin Caldwell, a community advocate and will serve as a directly impacted civilian on the advisory panel.
  • Officer Robert Horne, head of the Annapolis police re-entry program.
  • Charles Hurley, a member of the Annapolis Human Relations Commission and the retired CEO of Mothers Against Drunk Driving.
  • Tatiana J. Klein, vice-president of the Board of Directors of the Center of Help.
  • Frank Larkin, a retired Secret Service agent who served as sergeant at arms of the U.S. Senate.
  • Monica Lindsey, community activist and member of the Caucus of African American Leaders, NAACP, and Anne Arundel Acting together.
  • Eric Lipsetts, attorney, author and civil rights advocate.
  • Harold Mo Lloyd, founder of a nonprofit that helps young people achieve their potential.
  • Scott MacMullan, a criminal defense attorney.
  • The Rev. Marguerite Morris, a police reform activist and the founder of Community Actively Seeking Transparency.
  • Jesse Raudales, director of operations of OIC.
  • Gabriele Roque, policy and legislation advocate for CASA de Maryland.
  • James Spearman, retired Annapolis police officer.
  • Kyree Stinson, college student and community activist.
  • Toni Strong-Pratt, community advocate and nonprofit founder representing ACT.
  • Angel Traynor, coordinator of a substance use prevention coalition in the City of Annapolis.
  • Jerry “Jay” Williams, Esq. - an attorney who serves on the Annapolis Police Recruitment Task Force.
  • Randy Williams, a retired Baltimore County Police Sergeant representing the Caucus of African American Leaders.

Recommended on Baltimore Sun

Advertisement
Advertisement