Let Survivors of Police Brutality Speak


Survivors of police abuse, community leaders, and local organizations are demanding that Baltimore City stop its forced silence policy. Currently, Baltimore City requires people to agree to gag orders – in the form of non-disparagement agreements – to settle police misconduct cases. This policy is a choice: Baltimore City does not have to silence police abuse survivors.

Thank you to the Public Safety Committee of the Baltimore City Council for unanimously voting to support Bill 19-0409, getting us a big step closer to ending these gag orders.

Now, we need the full City Council to do the right thing, build on the Committee’s support, and pass Bill 19-0409 once and for all. Survivors’ voices must be heard.

Please take action now.

"If your voice held no power, they would not try to silence you. Use your power. Speak up!"
-ASHLEY OVERBEY UNDERWOOD, who is challenging Baltimore’s forced silence policy, represented by ACLU of Maryland

Message Recipients:

Baltimore City Council Members

Forced Silence Condones Police Violence - Image of a black woman wrapped in american flag with a raised
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Your Message
Baltimore City Council Member

I ask for your leadership to finally end the egregious free speech violations Baltimore City has perpetrated for years on survivors of police abuse.

I am thankful that the Public Safety Committee unanimously voted to support Bill 19-0409. Please continue this great work and pass the bill once and for all, clean, without amendments.

I think it’s wrong for Baltimore City to require “non-disparagement” clauses in settlement agreements, which limit survivors from talking about what happened to them with the public, including members of the press. This policy is a choice: Baltimore City does not have to silence survivors of police misconduct.

I ask that you support City Council Bill 19-0409, which does three things:
1) Prohibits non-disclosure agreements – “gag orders” – when the City Law Department settles cases of police abuse, sexual harassment, and other forms of unlawful discrimination.
2) Makes null and void all past gag orders in settlements of police misconduct, sexual harassment, and other illegal discrimination cases.
3) Requires reporting so that the City Council, and the public, know how many such cases are being filed, and how much the City is spending to resolve them.

The only purpose gag orders serve is to control what survivors can say and coerce silence. This is a systemic problem in our City that profoundly harms women and communities of color.

With your leadership, we have an opportunity to take this important step and make progress on repairing the relationship between the police and the community.


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