Media Contact

Meredith Curtis Goode, 443-310-9946; media@aclu-md.org

December 4, 2019

This is a coalition statement regarding news that Mayor Jack Young’s office has indicated that they do not intend to comply with the City’s new law barring non-disparagement agreements in settlements of police misconduct, sexual harassment, and other unlawful discrimination by City employees. 

This statement has been signed by leadership from Justice for Tyrone West, Not Without Black Women, Runners 4 Justice, Jews United for Justice, the Coalition for Justice, Safety & Jobs, the Citizens Policing Project, and the ACLU of Maryland. 

“Non-disparagement agreements, also known as 'gag orders,' are now illegal in Baltimore City. The new City ordinance will outlaw their use and the recent federal appeals court decision has ruled them to be unconstitutional. By saying that they are not going to enforce the new City law, the Mayor and City Solicitor are ignoring both the law and the U.S. Constitution. If they thought the bill was illegal, the Mayor should have vetoed it, and faced the political consequences for doing so. The Mayor did not veto the bill, and having not vetoed it, neither he nor the City Solicitor are free to simply ignore the law.  

"There is no doubt that the City Solicitor, to this day, and in defiance of the 4th Circuit Court’s opinion, continues to insist on settlement agreements that limit what people can say to only what is explicitly included in court documents. That is a gag order — an unconstitutional limit on the free speech of survivors of police abuse and other forms of unlawful discrimination by City employees.”

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