THE LABOR union representing Philadelphia police officers is working with a Republican state representative to introduce legislation that would grant anonymity to most cops involved in on-duty shootings.
John McNesby, president of the city’s Fraternal Order of Police, is expected to join state Rep. Martina White tomorrow to outline a bill to prevent the release of officers’ names and identifying information – except in cases where they are charged with a crime as a result of the shooting.
“It puts our officers in jeopardy because anyone can Google names,” said Bob Ballentine, the FOP’s recording secretary.
White plans to introduce the bill in Harrisburg on Friday.
White won a special election in March in Northeast Philadelphia, taking the seat formerly held by Democrat Brendan Boyle in a district where Democrats outnumber Republicans 2-to-1.
A key factor in that upset? The FOP split from other labor groups and backed White over her Democratic opponent Sarah Del Ricci.
In fact, White’s victory party was held at FOP headquarters.
Ballentine emphasized that the law is not designed to protect people like Michael Slager, the South Carolina police officer who shot and killed a man as he fled a traffic stop in April. The incident was captured on video and Slager was charged with murder in June.
“As a law enforcement guy for 43 years, I was horrified. I wanted to throw up,” Ballentine said of that case.
The release of police officers’ names became particularly controversial in Philadelphia following the December shooting of Brandon Tate-Brown, 26, who died after Officer Nicholas Carrelli shot him during a traffic stop.
Police repeatedly said that Tate-Brown had been shot as he reached into the passenger side of his car for a stolen gun. But documents released in June showed that Carrelli told Internal Affairs investigators that he shot Tate-Brown as he ran around the trunk of the car.
District Attorney Seth Williams cleared Carrelli of wrongdoing in that case.
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