Pennsylvania politicians tried their best to pass a law making it illegal to release the names of cops who shoot citizens that result in death of “seriously bodily harm” for at least 30 days from the incident or until an investigation is completed.
The bill sailed through both the house and the senate with legislators on both sides of the political spectrum saying it was important to hide the identities of cops who kill for their own safety – even though there has not been any documented cases of killer cops being retaliated against for their actions.
But the bill was vetoed earlier today by Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf in the name of government transparency.
Thank you, Governor Wolf. You did the right thing.
Read Wolf’s letter here explaining his situation.
The bill was introduced last year by Representative Martina White, a republican, in response to Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey’s decision to release the names of officers who shoot or kill within 72 hours.
In October, after the bill sailed through both houses, it appeared as if Wolf might sign it in order not to come across as a “cop hater.”
According to a Philly Mag article from last month:
If House Bill 1538 becomes law, officials – with the exception of the state attorney general’s office and the district attorney’s offices – could be charged with a second-degree misdemeanor if they share the name of an officer involved in an incident that has resulted in death or “serious bodily injury” when a gag order has been issued.
The bill has been heavily criticized by the American Civil Liberties Union, which called it “a policy that will heighten tensions between the police and the communities they serve” and “completely tone deaf to the needs of communities that are impacted by police brutality.”
And the ACLU was correct in asserting that a law like this would only create bigger mistrust between police and the communities they serve.
And it would have ensured even more protections against killer cops as if they don’t already have enough protections.