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Angela Alsobrooks under scrutiny over Maryland police reforms

Former Maryland State Attorney Angela Alsobrooks is under fire for controversial police reforms she implemented that critics say led to a spike in crime.

In 2020, the death of George Floyd while in police custody galvanized the Black Lives Matter movement, leading to nationwide and widespread calls to dismantle police. Around the same time, Prince George County Police Chief Hank Stawinski resigned after a report was released alleging a history of misconduct, discrimination and racially charged comments.

Just after Stawinski’s resignation and Floyd’s death, Alsobrooks joined activists’ calls for police reform.

Alsobrooks, who is now running against former Republican Maryland Governor Larry Hogan to replace retiring Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), founded the Prince George’s County Police Reform Working Group in July 2020. In December, the group released a report detailing close collaboration. to 50 recommendations for addressing “many of the local and national debates around racism and policing.”

FILE – Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks listens during a hearing on a Maryland bill, Jan. 23, 2020, in Annapolis, Maryland. (AP Photo/Brian Witte, File)

The former prosecutor accepted 46 recommendations for police reform in 2021, saying: “I believe our families deserve to live in places where they have both justice and freedom.”

Alsobrooks is facing criticism for following one recommendation in particular: reallocating $20 million in funds earmarked for a police training facility to a mental health rehabilitation center for inmates.

“We believe that if we focus on restorative approaches and restorative practices to prevent some of the low-level crimes that are happening in our county and within our school system, we can reallocate those dollars to mental health and other services … that are desperately needed are within our county,” then-state Del. advised. Alonzo Washington, one of the working group’s co-chairs, in 2020.

Alsobrooks agreed, saying during a 2022 interview with Ebenezer AME Church, “And one of the things we did during our administration is I decided we were going to reallocate $20 million for a police training facility. Now we still have a training facility, but it would be very expensive. And I’ve decided that you can’t heal people in prison.”

“I reallocated it, with the support of the County Council, which had to vote to approve it – and it was on your ballot in 2020. You had to approve it too – but instead we have $20 million reassigned. And we are now opening the doors to a new mental health and addiction treatment facility that will open in July, in partnership with Luminous Health Care, so that we can actually heal our loved ones and not have to treat them in prison.” she added.

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Alsobrooks made the redistricting as Prince George’s County saw a 16% increase in total violent crime, a 58% increase in reported homicides, a 19% increase in reported robberies and a 15% increase between 2019 and 2020. in the number of reported serious assaults. Violent crime in the county is up 30% through 2022, according to FBI statistics.

During her first campaign, Alsobrooks was criticized for not being progressive enough. Challenger David Trone criticized her for supporting the death penalty in a murder case during her time as state’s attorney, while Prince George’s County Councilwoman Krystal Oriadha claimed Alsobrooks had not shown enough support for the LGBT community as county executive.