Joint Statement of the Parties in Maryland State Conference of NAACP Branches v. Maryland State Police Department

Document Date: April 2, 2008
Affiliate: ACLU of Maryland

“In recent years, racial profiling has become widely recognized as an important civil rights issue, here in Maryland, and across the United States. The need to treat motorists of all races with respect, dignity, and fairness under the law is fundamental to good police work and a just society. The parties agree that racial profiling is unlawful and undermines public safety by alienating communities.

In an effort to bring light to the issue of racial profiling in Maryland, plaintiffs Gary Rodwell, Kenneth Jeffries, John Means, William Berry, Johnston Williams, and Verna Bailey have expended years of hard work, perseverance, and devotion to this important goal. Across the nation, these plaintiffs’ cases have been widely credited with raising awareness about the problem of racial profiling, and the need to respond to this issue.

The Maryland State Police is committed to preventing racial profiling because it is the right thing to do. As a result of the 2003 Consent Decree in this case and the Maryland State Police’s commitment to fair and effective law enforcement, the Maryland State Police has taken measures to establish stronger policies prohibiting wrongful behavior by its troopers, to inform the public of the dangers of racial profiling and how to bring information about racial profiling to the attention of the State Police, and to implement greater management oversight of trooper conduct. The Maryland State Police adopted these policies, procedures and goals with an aim of assuring that all motorists are treated properly while the vital work of law enforcement is pursued.

The plaintiffs applaud these efforts, and urge the Maryland State Police to continue its vigilance in the years ahead. All agree that good law enforcement and equitable treatment of the public go hand in hand. The parties have been engaged in the lawsuit for nearly 10 years and now find that it is in their best interests and the best interests of the community to bring finality to the case. While the parties have agreed to terms acceptable to both to end the lawsuit, the parties remain committed to condemning unlawful racial profiling in the future. The State and the plaintiffs are gratified that this chapter has been brought to a close and look forward to working together to maintain Maryland’s leadership on this issue.”