Pa. House again approves measure to restrict ID of police officers involved in shootings
March 20, 2017 6:34 PM
Matt Rourke/Associated Press
By a vote of 157-39, the House on Monday again approved a proposal to restrict the ability of public officials to immediately identify police officers who are involved in shootings.
By Karen Langley / Harrisburg Bureau
HARRISBURG — The House on Monday again approved a proposal to restrict the ability of public officials to immediately identify police officers who are involved in shootings, after Gov. Tom Wolf vetoed the same bill last year.
The bill now heads to the Senate, where the previous bill passed last year 39-9. Jennifer Kocher, spokeswoman for Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman, R-Centre, said that members need to take a look at the proposal, but added: “Certainly, our members have a continued interest in ensuring the safety of law enforcement.”
Wolf spokesman J.J. Abbott said the governor’s opposition is unchanged. When Mr. Wolf vetoed the previous bill, in November 2016, he wrote that the change would “enshrine into law a policy to withhold important information from the public.”
Rep. Martina White, R-Philadelphia, who sponsored both bills, has described the proposal as a way to protect police officers and their families.
The vote in the House on Monday was 157-39.
Before the vote, several Democrats voiced concerns about the proposal. Rep. Chris Rabb, D-Philadelphia, called the proposal a “very dangerous bill.”
“The number of retaliatory shootings of police officers accused of excessive force, whatever that number may be, pales in comparison to the thousands of unarmed children, women and men, mostly black, across America who are brutalized by rogue police officers,” Mr. Rabb said.
The bill addresses cases in which there is an official investigation of a shooting by a law enforcement officer that results in a death or serious bodily injury.
In those cases, the bill would bar the officer’s agency and the investigating agency from publicly identifying the officer for 30 days or until an official investigation concludes. The attorney general’s office and district attorneys’ offices would be excluded.
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