HARRISBURG – Today Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf vetoed legislation to criminally charge public officials who identify police officers who seriously injure or kill someone within 30 days of the incident. Introduced by Representative Martina White (R-Philadelphia), House Bill 1538 created a new second-degree misdemeanor for violations of the act. Only district attorneys and the Attorney General were exempt from the public blackout demanded by the legislation.
The following can be attributed to Reggie Shuford, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania:
“By rejecting this bill, Governor Wolf took a stand for transparency and accountability. This legislation would have taken us backwards, at the exact time that people are increasingly calling for more openness and fairness from police departments. There is nothing fair or open about withholding information from the public after someone has been injured or killed by an employee who is on the taxpayers’ payroll.
“Make no mistake: This legislation was backlash to the grassroots movement of people calling for fairer treatment by the police.
“Local officials are more in tune with the needs of their communities than politicians in Harrisburg. This bill was a one-size-fits-all response to all situations. It would have tied the hands of local officials.
“Governor Wolf did the right thing for communities throughout Pennsylvania by vetoing this legislation.”