The Baltimore Civilian Review Board, a panel charged with reviewing police brutality and abuse allegations, filed a lawsuit Monday seeking to force the city police department to turn over records, escalating a dispute between panel members and the city’s top lawyer.
The board is joined in the case by 15 members of the public who have filed complaints against the police, alleging beatings, wrongful arrest and harassment.
Board members said at a news conference at their office that they filed the case to strike back against the secrecy surrounding police discipline.
“This idea that police can act in secrecy is not democracy to me,” said George Buntin, a board member for the city’s Western police district.
In July, the members of the board refused to sign a confidentiality agreement proposed by City Solicitor Andre Davis. Since then, the board has been unable to access the official police internal affairs records its members say are essential to their work.
The situation is complicated because the board, as a city agency, is represented by Davis, who is also the police department’s lawyer. The board and the members of the public retained a private…