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Should identities of police officers involved in shootings be kept secret?

by AirTalk®

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Police officers stand guard after protesters set fire to a near by trash bin during a demonstration to show outrage for the fatal shooting of Manuel Angel Diaz, 25, at Anaheim City Hall on July 24, 2012 in Anaheim, California. Diaz was fatally shot on July 21 by an Anaheim police officer and has sparked days of protests by the angered community. Jonathan Gibby/Getty Images

The California Supreme Court is set to consider an appeal next month that will determine whether the names of police officers who have been involved in shootings should be disclosed to the public.

The case goes back to a 2010 incident when Long Beach police officers shot and killed an intoxicated, unarmed man who was carrying a garden hose nozzle that officers mistook for a gun.

A Los Angeles Times reporter filed a public record's request to find out the names of the officers involved in the shooting. The city originally agreed to turn over the names but the Long Beach Police Officers Association sued to keep the names confidential.

The union said it was concerned about officer safety after an anonymous online blog post threatened one of the officer's families. Since then, both the group known as "Anonymous" and "Occupy Long Beach" have posted the names, addresses and cell phone numbers of 6 police officers including the two officers involved in the Long Beach shooting.

Should the public know the identities of officers involved in police shootings? How can the officers safety be protected if their identities are public knowledge? Does the public have a right to know which police officers are involved in investigations or disciplinary proceedings?


Michael Payman Kade, an attorney in Los Angeles with the Law Offices of Michael Payman Kade. 

Peter Bibring, senior staff attorney at the ACLU of Southern California. 

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