The Caucus of African American Leaders held a press conference this morning outside of Annapolis City Hall to announce an October 14th town hall meeting at City Hall to open up discussions about alleged inequities within the Annapolis Police Department. The event will be help from 7pm to 9pm and will be recorded. It is unknown if it will be televised live on the City’s public access channels.
Carl Snowden led the conference and introduced several speakers including the Rev. Stephen Tillett from the Anne Arundel Chapter of the NAACP, Meredity Curtis from the ACLU, and Don Quinn, a local activist, former candidate for State Senate, and member of the Anne Arundel County Republican Central Committee.
According to Quinn, the purpose is to open the dialogue and make sure that there are no inequities in how one person is treated, and said all they want is “for all people to be treated fairly.”
Snowden lauded former Chief of Police Joseph Johnson and stated that under Johnson’s watch, all police units were reflective [racial makeup] of the citizens of Annapolis. During Snowden’s remarks, he stated that State’s Attorney Wes Adams, Mayor Michael Pantelides, and Police Chief Michael Pristoop were invited to the press conference along with other local leaders, but were not present. Major Scott Baker, police department Corporal Amy Miguez, and City PIO Rhonda Bentley-Wardlaw were present.
Also at the conference were former Alderwomen Classie Hoyle and Cynthia Carter as well as current Ward 6 Alderman Kenny Kirby.
The town hall meeting will take place on October 14th from 7pm to 9pm in the Council Chambers of Annapolis City Hall and the public is invited and encouraged to attend. The Caucus expects that there will be several retired police officers present to testify.
After the meeting, they will take their findings and recommendations and present them to the City and the Human Resources Committee to begin discussions to affect the changes they seek.
While not the impetus of this meeting, the recent Federal lawsuit filed against the City by several former police officers is certainly connected. In that lawsuit, there were several charges of racial discrimination and maintaining a hostile work environment alleged against the police department. The charges were deemed unfounded by the police and the City’s Human Resources Department. Suit was filed and District Court, Circuit Court, and the Court of Appeals all sided with the City. The case has now moved to the Federal level.