Federal Judge Tosses Lawsuit Challenging Baltimore Police Non-Disparagement Clause

by: The Associated Press
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BALTIMORE (AP) — A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit challenging Baltimore’s policy prohibiting alleged victims of police brutality from disparaging police after they receive cash settlements.

U.S. District Judge J. Frederick Motz granted motions by the city and the Police Department to dismiss Ashley Overbey’s lawsuit against them. The judge wrote that the non-disparagement clause the city used in its settlement with Overbey is “valid” and did not violate her First Amendment rights.

The American Civil Liberties of Maryland plans to appeal the ruling.

Baltimore has paid millions of dollars in such settlements in recent years. Critics say the non-disparagement clauses help cover up police misconduct and make it more difficult to accurately assess police actions.

City Solicitor Andre Davis said the clauses are standard in civil settlements.

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