Police-involved deaths are frequently in the national headlines. Where racial profiling and bias in policing is common, this is the worst possible outcome. In Montgomery Co., the impetus for the passage of the LETT Act was the June 11, 2018 shooting death of Robert White, an unarmed 41-year-old resident with a known history of mental health issues, at the hands of a county police officer. In a case where racial profiling and bias played a role, police attempted to stop Mr. White as he walked near his Silver Spring home, killing him in a parking lot during the confrontation. We need to create more trust and transparency in the aftermath of these incidents, not just for the rights of residents but for the safety of law enforcement officers.
The LETT Act mandates independent investigations and a public report following any police-involved death. This will rebuild the trust lost between local law enforcement and the community -- a critical bridge to promote community policing, and reducing crime before it occurs. The LETT Act addresses rebuilds trust between police and the community by requiring new levels of transparency in a critical area: deadly force. Investigators from an independent law enforcement entity deliver their findings to the County State’s Attorney where if charges not be brought, a public report out will occur. Our residents deserve to know what happened in these cases, and we should embrace outside investigations to protect against the potential for bias.