Over the last year, one of the biggest stories in the news has been police brutality. From the Michael Brown case in Ferguson, MO, to the killing of Corey Jones in South Florida, violence among police officers has been in the headlines every week. Police forces should be all about making a better impression on the public.
For some, this means business as usual. These are the good cops–the ones who go to work every day. They do their jobs and keep their noses clean while they do it. These are the cops who are never the news story.
But for others, it is just too hard to do their jobs without hurting someone. But that’s ok because when they hurt someone, there is a system in place to cover it up. That’s the way it is in Baltimore, Maryland, where the City has been paying hush money to citizens who have been mistreated by their police. All.gov reports”
In one case, the city agreed to pay Ashley Overbey $63,000 after police used a stun gun on her after she had reported a burglary at her home. But after she posted comments about her case on a newspaper website, Baltimore officials withheld $31,500 of her settlement.
So after the City pays a settlement to someone mistreated by their police officers, alt.gov is reporting that the only way the recipients are allowed to receive all the reparations due to them is to agree to keep silent. Alt.gov reported:
Most of those who settle with the city of Baltimore over incidents of police misconduct must submit to a gag order to keep their settlements, a newspaper reported.
The city has paid $12 million in settlements and court judgments in police-misconduct cases from 2010 through 2014, according to the Journal.
With all the bad press Baltimore received after the Freddie Gray case earlier this year, this is not the sort of press the City needs. More than that, though, this is not the sort of behavior that should be tolerated anywhere. First, the violent treatment of anyone by police is wrong. Second, not owning up to it and making it right in a transparent manner is even worse.
Citizens are taught from a young age to trust those in authority over them. Firefighters and police officers are lifted up to small children as heroes. This sort of news shakes us to the very core as we make the horrifying discovery that we can’t trust anyone.