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Maryland Catholic Conference to host police reform discussion with Commissioner Harrison, Maryland legislators

Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison, the Archbishop of Baltimore and two of the city’s legislators will discuss recent police reform measures during a virtual town hall meeting Monday.

In a news release, the Maryland Catholic Conference wrote that Monday’s meeting will feature Harrison, the Rev. William Lori, state Sen. Jill P. Carter and Del. Samuel Rosenberg, and will address “police reform and racial justice in Maryland.”

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The meeting comes after a group of state lawmakers endorsed repealing the Maryland Law Enforcement Officers' Bill of Rights, which extends additional protections to officers charged with crimes that critics say keep bad officers employed.

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Spurred by the death of George Floyd in Minnesota in May, the bipartisan work group has recommended a number of changes to how the state should regulate its law enforcement agencies, including creating a statewide standard on officers' acceptable use of force.

Rosenberg, who serves Baltimore City’s 41st District in the House of Delegates, sits on the special committee and was one of nine Democrats who voted in favor of the repeal measure.

A work group in the state Senate has also discussed similar reform issues and included Carter, a Baltimore Democrat who said she was in favor of a full repeal of the Law Enforcement Officers' Bill of Rights.

Harrison has asked the state legislature to allow him to fire officers accused of misdemeanors and felonies earlier in the process than the Law Enforcement Officers' Bill of Rights currently allows for. State law doesn’t allow officers charged with misdemeanors to be terminated until they go before an internal review board, and those charged with felonies must first be convicted.

Lori led a day of prayer for racial justice in September and voiced support for the Black Lives Matter movement during that day’s Mass.

The town hall will take place Monday at 7:30 p.m. at facebook.com/mdcatholic and will be moderated by Andre Hepkins, a reporter with WBAL-TV.

The virtual host is the St. Bernardine Church. People may submit questions to communications@mdcatholic.org in advance.

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