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House panel turns down bill letting state prosecutor probe police killings

The House Judiciary Committee has killed a bill that would have authorized the state prosecutor to investigate any case in which a police officer kills an individual in the line of duty.

Del Frank M. Conaway Jr., a Baltimore Democrat, had introduced the legislation amid a national controversy over the deaths of young African-American men in encounters with officers. Despite concerns about having the officer's own department investigate the killing, the panel voted 15-3 against the bill Wednesday. Del. Samuel I. "Sandy" Rosenberg, another Baltimore Democrat, withdrew a similar bill.

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The Office of the State Prosecutor is a relatively small agency that primarily investigates political corruption cases. The bill would have also applied in cases where the officer kills a person while   acting within his or her authority while off duty.

The committee also squelched an effort to revive the death penalty in Maryland. Del. Patrick McDonough, a Baltimore County Republican, proposed a bill allowing capital punishment for murders of law enforcement and correctional officers, as well as witnesses and first responders. The bill failed on a 13-7 vote. Maryland abolished the death penalty in 2013.

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