A federal appeals court denied a motion for a rehearing on Baltimore’s policy of requiring citizens to sign nondisclosure agreements in settlements of police misconduct cases.
The court denied the city’s request for another hearing on a July ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, which found the practice unconstitutional.
In a statement, Ashley Overbey, who brought the lawsuit against the city after it attempted to deny her some of her settlement money when she commented on her experience with police on social media, said the decision supports the public’s First Amendment rights: “I stood up for what’s right and I am absolutely ecstatic about this ruling in favor of the people and their free speech rights.”
The court ruled in July that the agreements equated to “hush money,” as Overbey argued the city improperly denied her half of her settlement after she responded to comments online about her experience with police.
According to the court’s written opinion, the Baltimore woman sued three police officers, alleging they beat, tased, verbally abused her and arrested her after she called 911 to report a burglary.