Police in Maryland want to make sure everyone on a city street has a license plate that identifies them, even if they are black, and that they are not suspected of any crime.
A Baltimore City Council committee passed a resolution Monday that will require drivers to display their license plate on a dashboard or windshield mounted camera, as well as a sign on the vehicle, if they want to operate in the city.
The resolution is in response to complaints by residents, local business owners and law enforcement officers that officers are making it difficult for minority residents to get their licenses.
The measure will take effect on Jan. 1, 2019.
“The City Council will not tolerate the harassment of individuals based on race, color, national origin, age, sex, religion, disability or other protected characteristics,” the resolution reads.
“This will not be tolerated.”
“We are not going to let this go,” said Councilman John Fortunato.
“I think it’s very important to make it clear that we are going to make every effort to make our streets safer,” he added.
“You don’t have to give a damn about the police officer who is harassing them, but at least the police officers should know who they are.””
If someone is being harassed, it’s time to say, ‘Stop it,’ ” Fortunatellos councilman told CBS Baltimore affiliate WBAL.
“You don’t have to give a damn about the police officer who is harassing them, but at least the police officers should know who they are.”
This is an attempt to be proactive and to prevent racial profiling,” Fortunatas councilwoman, Yvette Clarke, told WBAL-TV.
The resolution was sponsored by Councilwoman Nisha Henderson, who chairs the council’s Public Safety Committee.
She said the city is working with the state Department of Motor Vehicles to create a pilot program that would give drivers the option to identify themselves on their license plates and a sign to show that the plates are in good standing.
The proposal would also require police to report suspicious license plate numbers to the DMV.
In May, the state announced that it would begin issuing licenses to more than 500,000 Marylanders, the first state to do so in nearly a decade.
That announcement came as Baltimore was rocked by protests after the death of Freddie Gray, who died after being arrested for allegedly running down a police officer.
The protests were sparked by the death last month of Freddie William Harris, a black man who died while in police custody in March after he was placed in a restraint chair.
In Maryland, there are more than 4.4 million licenses to drive, according to the Maryland Department of Licensing and Registration.
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