Pa. House OKs bill protecting police IDs after officer-involved shootings

HARRISBURG -- The House on Monday again approved a proposal that would bar public officials from immediately identifying police officers who are involved in shootings. Gov. Wolf vetoed the same bill last fall.

The bill now heads to the Senate, where the previous bill passed last year, 39-9. Jennifer Kocher, spokeswoman for Majority Leader Jake Corman (R., Centre), said,  "Certainly, our members have a continued interest in ensuring the safety of law enforcement."

Wolf spokesman J.J. Abbott said the governor's opposition was unchanged. When Wolf vetoed the previous bill in November, he wrote that the change would "enshrine into law a policy to withhold important information from the public."

Rep. Martina White (R., Phila.), 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 of 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,” 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.

klangley@post-gazette.com

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@karen_langley

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