The City of Baltimore and the State of Maryland offered a $1 million settlement to the family of Tyrone West, who died in police custody in 2013. Since that time, his sister, Towanda Jones, has held weekly “West Wednesday” protests to highlight the case against the Baltimore City and Morgan State Police.
She has chosen not to accept the settlement, in part because of a requirement that she make no further public comments about the case, a condition many activists have condemned as a “gag order” that has been used to silence the families of police brutality victims and plaintiffs, most notably in the case of Freddie Gray in April of 2015.
Rather than re-hash the details of this case, we will refer you to the following articles for more details. We actually learned of this development from a Facebook post by local community activist JC Faulk. We thank him for alerting the grassroots and activist community of this development, and we also thank Bro. Eze Jackson of the Real News Network for the piece in which he interviewed Ms. Jones at the most recent West Wednesday protest at 33rd and Greenmount Avenues. The West Wednesday protests will continue, as she quite courageously did not accept the settlement and its associated “non-disparagement” clause. Such clauses, generally derided as gag orders to keep aggrieved families from publicly speaking about the State’s misdeeds, are allegedly common in settlements of police misconduct and brutality against citizens, even in cases in which the victim of brutality died. Other information on the case is available on multiple websites on the Internet as well as these stories about the recent settlement:
Carroll County Times, July 25, 2017, State reaches settlement in Tyrone West death lawsuit, http://www.carrollcountytimes.com/bs-md-tyrone-west-settlement-20170725-story,amp.html
Real News Network, July 28, 2017, Tyrone West’s Sister Refuses $1 million settlement, http://therealnews.com/t2/story:19657:Tyrone-West%27s-Sister-Refuses-1-Million-Dollar-Settlement-for-Her-Brother%27s-Death