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In the Media: Md Lawmakers Call for Stun Gun Policy; Hip Hop 4 Flint in Baltimore

Maryland State House in Annapolis.
Amaury Laporte
Maryland State House in Annapolis.

A digest of Baltimore news from local sources.

From the Baltimore Sun: Maryland Lawmakers Call for Statewide Policy for Police Using Stun Guns

"As the General Assembly moves to create an independent police commission, key lawmakers say one of its first priorities should be to develop a statewide policy on how officers use stun guns across Maryland.

"The commission's mandate would be to adopt 'use of force' policies recommended by the U.S. Department of Justice, under bipartisan legislation approved by the House of Delegates and being considered in the Senate. Those policies would cover how and when officers should resort to using a stun gun on suspects.

"Lawmakers and civil rights activists called for statewide stun-gun standards after a six-month Baltimore Sun investigation that found police officers in Maryland frequently shocked people for longer than recommended and didn't follow other best practices identified by the Justice Department and Taser International, the only stun-gun brand used by law enforcement in Maryland.

"Sen. Lisa Gladden, a Baltimore Democrat and former vice chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said police should only use a Taser when they are facing a serious threat. The Sun also found that police across the state predominantly used the weapons against suspects who posed no immediate threat."

Full Article

From the AFRO American: Hip Hop 4 Flint Hits Baltimore

"Baltimore and 38 other cities around the world—from Toronto to Grand Rapids to Providence, R.I.—will come together on March 27 for a global day of unity to raise money to support for residents of Flint, Mich., where more than 9,000 children have been exposed to lead in the water they drink. 

"Hip-Hop 4 Flint is a call to action for local, national, and international artists and leaders in the hip-hop community to host an event in their city to collect $80,000 to filtrate the water in more than 500 homes. 

"The Hip Hop 4 Flint movement is led by YoNasDa Lonewolf, a hip hop artist and activist who focuses her work on human rights, indigenous rights, and social justice. 

"In Baltimore, the movement is led by The Curators of Hip-Hop (COHH), a grassroots organization dedicated to preserving the ever-changing culture of hip hop in an online conservatory that showcases positive artistry and explores how different cities, states and countries embrace the culture of hip hop. 

“'Hip hop is about unity in the community,' said Jimmie Thomas, producer and co-founder of COHH. 'It’s bigger than Flint. Our kids in Baltimore can’t even drink from the water fountains in their schools.' 

"While the global goal is to raise money for the residents of Flint, the local goal is to bring the people in Baltimore together, because the lead crisis here continues. It was only 13 years ago that Baltimore City Public Schools started offering students filtered water. At least 4,900 Maryland children have been poisoned by lead in the past decade."

Full Article

From City Paper: End of an Era: City Council Election Will Bring Sweeping Change

"Baltimore City's 2016 municipal election carries only one guarantee: change. Six of the 15 incumbent City Council members are leaving—three to retire, two to run for mayor, one to run for Circuit Court Judge. That means that more than one-third of the city's legislative body will turn over this year. That's more change than the Council has seen since the end of three-member districts in 2003. It's the biggest turnover in years. That's a guarantee.

"We'll also be getting a new mayor, and incumbents in several districts are facing serious challengers. Warren Branch, in the 13th district, is again facing a strong challenge from Shannon Sneed, who almost beat him in 2011. William "Pete" Welch, the 9th District stalwart who was appointed to take his mother's place in 2011, is again facing serious challenge, and Eric Costello, the Council's newest member who was appointed to fill the 11th district seat vacated by Bill Cole when he became director of the Baltimore Development Corp., is also facing spirited challengers.

"Throughout the city, most of the challengers are young, many of them running their first campaigns for elective office. Most of them are progressives or even idealists. There are lawyers, non-profit founders, teachers, and mentors. Many have government experience—which they say inspired them to run."

Read: City Paper profiles the candidates and issues in the six open-seat races