Edmonston launches ‘duty to intervene’ rule for police

Edmonston police officers are now required to at least attempt to stop other officers from using inappropriate levels of force. The new rule was incorporated into the city police department’s “General Orders,” a document that lays out standard practices for police operations. It was announced in a June 13, 2020, email to Edmonston city residents. In the announcement, Edmonston Chief of Police Demetrious Harris said the new rule was a reaction to the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police May 25, 2020. “The purpose of this order is to establish operational guidelines meant to create a culture to prevent another death like George Floyd’s,” reads the announcement.

Stalemate in Edmonston police chief dispute

A dispute over who will be Edmonston’s next chief of police has entered an odd détente, as Town Council has refused to approve Mayor Tracy Gant’s pick while Gant herself has not publicly forwarded another candidate for consideration. The dispute, which has gone on for more than two months, goes back to a vague part of Edmonston’s charter, which grants its mayor exclusive authority to “recommend” a candidate for police chief (as well as town administrator) to Town Council for approval. However the charter is unclear on what happens if Town Council does not approve of the recommendation, and does not give Town Council a method to nominate an alternate selection for these positions. Unable to secure three of the five votes of Council necessary to hire her pick, Gant summed up the state of the dispute in brief interview after an Oct. 3, 2018 Town Council meeting.

Update: Edmonston police chief ‘impasse’ persists

Edmonston’s Town Council remains gridlocked in a debate over who will be its next chief of police. “We remain at an impasse,” said Ward Two Councilor Sarah Turberville after the meeting. “It should be first noted that the opposition is coming from the very same Council members who scored the candidate that the mayor recommended the highest.” Per the municipality’s charter, Edmonston Mayor Tracy Gant has the exclusive right to nominate a police chief candidate for approval by Town Council. But the charter is unclear on how to proceed if Council rejects the mayor’s nominee.

Port Towns consider Peace Cross Supreme Court filings

As it appeals a lower court decision over the fate of the Bladensburg Peace Cross, the Maryland-National Capital Parks and Planning Commission is asking for help from Bladensburg-area cities. Specifically, M-NCPPC officials have been approaching Prince George’s County’s “Port Towns” – the municipalities of Bladensburg, Colmar Manor, Cottage City and Edmonston whose history is linked to the old port of Bladensburg – to ask if they would like to co-sign on an amicus brief to be filed with the Supreme Court supporting the appeal at no cost to the municipalities. Amicus briefs – also called “friend of the court” brief,” are filed with Supreme Court cases by third parties to argue on side of an issue or another – At its meeting this past week, Edmonston Town Council considered the offer without taking action. The consensus was to see what the MNCPPC brief says before taking final action. In 2017, a federal appeals court ruled the Bladensburg Peace Cross, by virtue of its shape, unnecessarily entangled the government in religion.