TAKE ACTION: Tell the Baltimore City Council to stop the forced silence policy

Victims of police abuse, community leaders, and local organizations are demanding that Baltimore City end its gag order policy. A serious violation of free speech, Baltimore City requires a mandatory “non-disparagement” clause -- on all individuals who settle police misconduct claims. The “non-disparagement” clause otherwise known as a gag order -- silences victims of police abuse from talking about what happened to them with the public, including members of the press. Baltimore City is one of the few jurisdictions in the country that has the practice of requiring gag orders to settle police misconduct cases. This policy is a choice: Baltimore city does not have to silence police abuse victims. 

What’s the Problem?

·   Baltimore City officials require victims of police brutality to sign “gag orders” banning them from telling their own stories in order to resolve their cases.

·   Millions of taxpayer dollars are used to stop Baltimore residents from talking about the abuse police officers have committed against them and their families.

·   This is a systemic problem in Baltimore City that deeply harms women and communities of color.

What are our Demands?

1.   The Mayor’s office and Baltimore City Government must immediately cease including gag orders on all police abuse settlements.

2.   The City Law Department must release information about how many gag orders have been attached to past settlements, broken down by year.

3.   Baltimore City Council must hold a special hearing on City’s gag orders.

4.    Baltimore City Council must pass a resolution calling for the all past gag orders in police misconduct settlements to be null & void. 

"If your voice held no power, they would not try to silence you. Use your power. Speak up!"

ASHLEY OVERBEY, who is challenging Baltimore’s gag order policy, represented by ACLU of Maryland


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