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    Angela Alsobrooks under scrutiny for Maryland police reforms

    By Emily Hallas,


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

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

    Fresh from Stawinski’s resignation and Floyd’s death, Alsobroooks fell in line with activists' calls to implement police reform.

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

    The former state attorney accepted 46 of the police reform recommendations in 2021, saying , “I believe that our families deserve to live in places where they have both justice and freedom.”

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

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

    Alsobrooks agreed, saying during a 2022 interview with Ebenezer AME Church, "And so one of the things that we’ve done during our administration is, I decided that we were going to reallocate $20 million away from a police training facility. Now, we still have a training facility, but this one was going to be very expensive. And I have decided that you can’t heal people in jail."

    "I have reallocated, with the support of the County Council who had to vote to approve it — and it was also on your ballot in 2020. You had to approve it as well — but we instead have reallocated $20 million. And we are now opening the doors to a new mental health care and addictions care facility that will be opening the doors this July, in partnership with luminous health care, so that we can actually heal our loved ones and not treat them in jail," she added.


    Alsobrooks made the reallocation as Prince George’s County saw a 16% increase in overall violent crime from 2019 to 2020, a 58% increase in reported homicides, a 19% increase in reported robberies, and a 15% increase in reported aggravated assaults. According to FBI statistics, violent crime in the county has increased 30% through 2022.

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

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