Maryland — In a damning blow to transparency, the Maryland Court of Appeals ruled that information related to police misconduct cannot be disclosed to the public and is exempt from the Maryland Public Information Act.
In other words, if a police officer strangles an innocent child to death while on duty and is “disciplined” for these actions, the public will never and can never know.
According to the Baltimore Sun:
The question before the state’s highest court centered on whether citizens have a right to know the outcome and other information about an investigation once misconduct allegations are sustained. In a 5-2 ruling, the court said the law exempts personnel information from disclosure and does not differentiate between “sustained” and “unsustained” complaints.
This bogus secrecy applies to the actual victims in the complaints!
In 2009, Sgt. John Maiello of the Baltimore Police Department was leaving a voicemail for a black woman named Teleta Dashiell. At the end of the call, Maiello thought he hung up the phone, but he actually stayed on allowing the voicemail to record his racial slurs against Dashiell.
Naturally, Dashiell filed a formal complaint. Several month later, the only thing she received back was a letter from the department stating that her claim was sustained and appropriate action had been taken. That was it.
The department refused to provide any further information such as what “action,” if any, had been taken.
The court claimed that this was all the information they needed to release, citing that if the public knows about police misconduct, they will know about all the misconduct of all public employees as well. The Sun reports:
The court said that a determination that a sustained finding requires disclosure would affect all public employees, not only police officers. Further, mandatory disclosure findings could chill the disciplinary process, rendering those in control less willing to sustain a finding of misconduct, the ruling said.
Who, in their right mind, thinks it’s a good idea to hide information about corrupt public servants — from the public?
Only a government that lives like cockroaches in the darkness would pass a law criminalizing the act of turning on the light.