Philadelphia Police Misconduct Lawyer Weighs in on the Bill to Limit Police Transparency in Pennsylvania

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Police brutality and other types of misconduct have been in the national spotlight for the past few years. Following numerous instances of violence, many Americans have demanded greater transparency from their law enforcement agencies.

But not every police department is willing to comply with this demand. In fact, there have been cases of law enforcement and government agencies taking steps in the opposite direction, putting more barriers between officers and the people they serve. One of these steps was House Bill 1538, a Pennsylvania bill that sought to conceal the names of officers involved in deadly shootings for 30 days following the shootings, or until the official investigations ended. In October 2016, it was approved by the Pennsylvania legislature. But in November, Governor Tom Wolf vetoed the bill.

Legal and Societal Changes With House Bill 1538

If the bill had become law, it would have made it a second degree misdemeanor for officials to state the names of law enforcement officers involved in deadly shootings or those that involve serious bodily injury once a gag order has been imposed. Supporters of the bill stated that it would protect officers’ safety. If it had been passed, it would have conflicted with the current policy in Philadelphia, which requires the Philadelphia Police Department to release the names of officers involved in fatal shootings within 72 hours of the incident, as long as doing so would not put the officers’ safety at risk.

Opponents of the bill claimed that it would only heighten tensions between law enforcement and civilians. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) was particularly vocal in its criticism of the bill, stating that it is “a policy that will heighten tensions between the police and the communities they serve,” and “completely tone deaf to the needs of communities that are impacted by police brutality.”

Philadelphia Police Misconduct Lawyer, Patrick G. Geckle, Advocates for Victims of Police Brutality in Philadelphia

Police brutality in Philadelphia and the rest of the United States is a serious issue. When victims fail to take a stand against police misconduct, people everywhere continue to be at risk of becoming victims. If you have suffered an injury at the hands of a police officer, work with an experienced Philadelphia police misconduct lawyer at the law offices of Patrick G. Geckle LLC to file your police misconduct case. Fill out our online form or call 215-735-3326 or our toll free number 800-555-7780 to schedule your initial consultation with the law offices of Patrick G. Geckle LLC in our Philadelphia office. We represent clients from Philadelphia as well as other areas of Eastern and Central Pennsylvania, including Bucks County, Carbon County, Berks County, Delaware County, Lancaster County, Lackawanna County, Lehigh County, Luzerne County, Montgomery County, and Monroe County.