Maryland State Police Ordered to Turn Over Documents in Racial Profiling Cases

Yahoo Contributor Network

The Associated Press reported on Thursday that Maryland's highest court had ruled that state police will be required to release files that describe how authorities look into complaints of racial profiling.

The decision from the Maryland Court of Appeals came after the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland and the Maryland State Conference of the NAACP called for the Maryland State Police to turn over the records. The case began in 2007.

Here's a closer look at the latest news regarding the court decision.

* The AP indicated that 10,000 pages of documents were wanted by the NAACP to look into 100 allegations of racial profiling between 2003 and 2007.

* State police contested that the complaints had all proven to be unsubstantiated. They also argued that said documents are personnel records and that those kinds of records are exempted from disclosure based upon Maryland's public information law.

* According to the Gazette , the opinion from the court discounted that argument, stating that "the Public Information Act's strong preference for public access must be considered whenever a court is applying the particular provisions of the statute."

* The NAACP had offered in 2007 to accept redacted records that only identified troopers by a number or code.

* Gerald Stansbury, president of the Maryland State Conference of NAACP Branches, said in a statement that the decision "sets a strong precedent and gives us the ability to determine if and when reports and complaints of racial profiling are thoroughly investigated and handled properly," according to the AP.

* Legal Director of the ACLU of Maryland Deborah Jeon was quoted in a statement released Thursday that "Complaints that people of color are targeted by the State Police for highway stops have haunted the department for more than two decades. Now, finally, the department must come clean about how it investigates and addresses racial profiling complaints."

* Seth Rosenthal, an attorney with the Venable legal team, said that "with the Court's decision today, Maryland citizens will now be able to monitor carefully whether the State Police is taking meaningful steps to eradicate the unlawful practice of stopping and searching motorists based on of the color of their skin," according to the ACLU.

* State Police spokeswoman Elena Russo said the decision was under review, according to the AP.

Shawn Humphrey is a former contributor to The Flint Journal and lives near Washington in Germantown, Md.

View Comments (0)