Pennsylvania lawmakers just thumbed their nose at anyone who doesn’t wear a badge and a gun.
With the relationship between police officers and the citizens they are supposed to “protect and serve” deteriorating rapidly, you’d think our lawmakers would be working towards mending that. But not the ones in Pennsylvania.
Philly.com is reporting that state lawmakers have passed a bill that will prevent public officials from immediately releasing the names of police officers involved in lethal and non-lethal shootings to the public.
“We are the protectors of our protectors,” said, Rep. Dominic Costa. Costa who supports the bill, is a Pittsburgh Democrat.
Supporters of the bill say that it is needed to protect officers and their families from potential harm after shootings and during investigations.
Current law lets local officials determine when to identify an officer who has used force. Under the bill, public officials would be barred from releasing the name of an officer involved in a shooting until 30 days after the incident, or after an official investigation into it ends.
Anyone who violates the gag could be charged with a second-degree misdemeanor. The state Attorney General’s Office and district attorney’s offices would be exempt.
The law would supercede current policy in Philadelphia, where the police department typically discloses names of officers involved in shootings within 72 hours after the incident – if there are no credible threats to those officers.
But here’s the coldest part. The bill passed both the state House and Senate chambers and it got through with veto-proof majorities. Meaning, that even if Governor Tom Wolf chose to veto it, state legislature would still have the power to override it if they felt like going through to process to do so.
Essentially, the bill is just as bulletproof as the cops it aims to protect.
With strides like body cams and dash cams becoming mandatory in some states, moves like this set the journey towards law enforcement transparency back many steps.
It’s obvious that “protecting the protectors” is more important that protecting the citizens.
Gov. Wolf has not said if he will pass or veto the bill, but if you want to lean on him, here is his contact information.