Legislation would limit when police in officer-involved shootings can be named

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — A piece of legislation, which has already passed the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, would not allow the names of police officers involved in a shooting or use of force in Pennsylvania, to be released to the public for 30 days.

House Bill 1538 was introduced by Representative Martina White. She says officers are often judged in the court of public opinion before all the facts get out about the incident.

Rep. White hopes the bill will allow the facts of each case to get out before people make a judgement on that officer.

“It allows their due process to take place. It doesn’t allow for the initial gut reaction to an incident that occurs, for that to be the final say,” said Rep. White. “To have their names publicly disclosed, right after an incident occurs, really puts them in jeopardy.”

Opponents of the bill say it is an attack on transparency, and argue that it could increase tension between police and the communities they serve.

“This bill would potentially heighten tensions and create more distrust between police and their communities. Because, the implications here is that the police have something to hide,” said Andy Hoover, Legislative Director for the ACLU Pennsylvania. “That’s a terrible message to send to your community, that the government is going to hide information from the people in the community.”

Wednesday is the final day of the legislative session.

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