Saturday, May 22, 2021


words by Charles Brooks 

Police reform in America is difficult because police unions, elected officials – Democrat and Republican – along with their largely white constituents seeks to maintain a racial order disguised as “law and order”. Opposition to police reform is seen in the public and political support for blue lives matter, and proposed anti-protest legislation across the nation that will clearly pit police officers on the front line against protesters deemed rioters.  We saw this during the seventies when the activist demand for community control over the police was met with the Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights or LEOBOR – such as the one passed by Maryland in 1974. Passed into law at a time when politicians and the police, together basked in the spectacle of “law and order” – which meant, get tough on Black folk.

Friday, May 21, 2021


words by Charles Brooks

The public display of Floyd’s gruesome death ignited massive protests across the country demanding reduced police budgets along with bans on tear gas, chokeholds, no-knock warrants, and limits on the police use of force. State and local legislators responded to the thousands of demonstrators on the streets with a barrage of their proposals attempting to address police reform.

Since last summer, state legislators in Maryland took notice and followed suit by convening a workgroup  to hammer out legislative proposals to address police reform in Maryland. On the ground, a coalition of 95 organizations – the Maryland Coalition for Justice and Police Accountability (MCJPA) began their grassroot campaign for police reform with demands grounded in racial justice and self-determination. Their demands seek to reverse unaccountable police misconduct with a process more transparent, more democratic and more aligned to the interests of the community, particularly those with Black working-class folk. In fact, three of their demands – if met – can fundamentally transform policing and the lives of Black folk in Maryland.