With the protests these days there has been a turn for law enforcement and the protesters as well….
We all have heard the stories about the police handling of the protests….well there is a new twist to these events….
When people took to the streets this year to protest racial injustice and police brutality against Black people, they faced a repressive, violent response from local police and federal agents. Some of these agents arrived with militarized uniforms, riot gear, and weapons, but, notably, no visible name labels, badges, or even insignia marking their government agency. Congress just put a stop to this corrosive and undemocratic secrecy, requiring federal agents to identify themselves.
Tucked inside the National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 6395), which just became law, is a new requirement for federal military and civilian law enforcement personnel involved in the federal government’s response to a “civil disturbance” to wear visible identification of themselves and the name of the government entity employing them. That’s good news, because requiring such identification should be a no-brainer in a democracy. When government employees are interacting with members of the public and exercising government authority, such as the power to arrest people, the public should have the right to know who the employees are and which agency employs them.
Furthermore, when government personnel engage in wrongdoing, such as attacking protesters, one of the first steps in holding them accountable is knowing who they are. It’s no surprise that rights-violating law enforcement would want to obscure their name plate and badge number before committing some unethical or even illegal act. Impeding transparency blocks oversight and accountability.
Will be interesting to see how they find to circumvent this new law.
I Read, I Write, You Know
“lego ergo scribo”