At the Council meeting on July 22, Council President Scott and Councilwoman Sneed introduced an ordinance entitled “Transparency and Oversight in Claims and Litigation.” The bill would prohibit the use of non-disclosure provisions in settlement agreements for police misconduct and unlawful discrimination claims filed against Baltimore City. It would also require the City’s Law Department to publish information about claims filed.
For years, survivors of police misconduct have been required to not speak as a condition of their settlements. This decision opens the door for people to overtly speak their truth and begin to heal from past trauma. I have always been an advocate for transparency, fairness, and integrity between city government and the citizens it serves; this is a step in the right direction.
The ordinance has been in the works since the fall and is the result of collaboration with advocates, such as the ACLU of Maryland. On July 11, 2019, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in the Overbey v. Mayor of Baltimore case, found the Baltimore Police Department’s practice requiring victims of police brutality and misconduct to sign non-disclosure agreements to be unconstitutional.
After analyzing our most insistent concerns from constituents which included but not limited to– vacant/nuisance houses, overweight trucks, water bill assistance, and public safety– we wanted to take a different approach and focus primarily on legislation and policy, but without disregarding the daily quality of life concerns. We invited DHCD to speak about the community development block grant program and receivership; DOT to discuss the Complete Streets Ordinance and current projects occurring in the district; DPW to present the H2O Assistance program for folks struggling with their water bills. For quality of life concerns, operational staff were present to document and address concerns directly.
Because one of the principal purposes for elected officials is to enact legislation that supports their constituency, we encouraged attendees to submit legislation ideas to promote and ensure inclusivity. Overall, our third annual townhall was engaging and informative, and we have followed up with most attendees via phone or email. Please contact the office to learn more about the topics discussed at the Town Hall in case you missed it!
I have listened to constituent concerns and we want businesses to be good neighbors in our community! December 11th was my offices’ second time appearing before the Board of Municipal Zoning and Appeals (BMZA) to oppose the expansion of Turning Point Medical Center. While we want to help tackle drug addiction, the existing conditions surrounding the current facility is alarming for residents who live in the community and patients who receive treatment.
Thank you to the community leaders who came together and testified at the BMZA hearing against the expansion of Turning Point. The BMZA did not approve their appeal!
It saddens me about the violence that is taking place within our community. WE have to do better as a people! The violence that is taking place is not normal and our babies should not grow up thinking it is.
I always encourage residents to attend the Community Relations Council meetings that are held every month by each police district.
Eastern District meets every 4th Tuesday at 1620 Edison Hwy at 7pm
Northeastern District meets every 3rd Wednesday at 1900 Argonne Dr. at 7pm
Southeastern District meets every 1st Monday at 5710 Eastern Ave. at 7pm
I understand this is not just a law enforcement issue but a public health issue. This is why we have to continue to work for access to resources, equitable funding for schools and workforce development programs. As a community, we have to be attentive, receptive and communicate with each other.