“No one should think that Baltimore City’s new invitation to survivors of police abuse to speak to the Board of Estimates when the settlements of their cases are being discussed is an adequate or meaningful substitute for the pending legislation that would end the City’s continuing practice of limiting survivors from speaking freely about their experiences.
“Demanding ‘non-disparagement agreements’ in settlements of police misconduct cases is an unconscionable practice that has already been found to violate the First Amendment by the United States Court of Appeals. The Mayor and City Solicitor should stop defending their unconstitutional practice, and stop seeking to perpetuate it.
“More importantly, the full Baltimore City Council should pass Council Bill 19-0409, now that it has unanimously passed out of the Public Safety Committee. Any survivors who accept the invitation to speak before the Board of Estimates about their case is still limited in what they can say by the non-disparagement clauses that the City continues to demand as a condition of settlement their cases.
“Whether you call them ‘non-disparagement’ clauses or ‘non-disclosure’ agreements, they still limit what survivors can say. They’re still gag orders, and the city must not be allowed to use them.”