A recent Washington City Paper article examining allegations that the Metropolitan Police Department has been running a protection racket has sparked a judge’s gag order in a pending lawsuit. Parties involved with Freeman v. District of Columbia will no longer be able to freely chat with the media.
Freeman’s case explores a number of issues, among them, whether the D.C. police “muscled in” on a security contract former police officer Martin Freeman had set up—and whether the city’s police force should be in the business of providing private protection at all—particularly when the city has the power to command some businesses to use its service.
According to court documents, after defense attorneys representing the D.C. government complained about City Paper‘s coverage potentially influencing jurors, Judge Franklin Burgess issued a gag order and also asked jurors not to read us. “The Plaintiffs were ordered not to discuss the case with the media. The jurors are present and the court gives the instruction not to read City Paper.”