The nation was rocked last summer by widespread protests against racial justice. While the vast majority of them include thousands of peaceful protesters asserting their First Amendment rights, some of the gatherings have turned violent.
To quell the unrest, President Trump and then Attorney General William Barr demanded a federal response in several cities, sending armed agents from a variety of federal law enforcement agencies.
The only problem is that many of these agents did not identify themselves, even when they were arresting protesters. A new law was passed at the end of the 116th Congress It will now require more transparency from the federal government In future confrontations with the demonstrators.
The summer of unnamed “security forces” is on the streets of the United States
In Portland, Oregon, which has featured some of the longest-running protests in the summer, masked, Faux federal officers appeared With just over “dash” badges written on it.
It turned out that many of them were officers of the US Customs and Border Protection Agency. Officials argued that anonymity was necessary to protect officers from retaliation against protesters, such as posting home addresses on the Internet.
Similar scenes happened in Washington, DCWith officers from the Federal Prison Office.
The protesters ’biggest problem is this: It’s difficult to tell anonymous federal officers apart from the private security guards, whom many companies hired this summer to protect their properties from looting and vandalism. If an anonymous “officer” tries to arrest or detain you, how do you know if this is a lawful arrest or not? Should I run or should I comply?
New law provides transparency
new law Adopted as part of the National Defense Authorization Act, Which was passed earlier this month as the end of the 116th Congress rapidly approaches, is hailed as a victory for the protesters.
The new law would require that when “a member of the armed forces or federal law enforcement personnel provides support to federal authorities to respond to any civil unrest,” these individuals must “show” each officer’s name – or other personal identifier – and the name of the agency they are a part of.
There are small exceptions for officers who disguise or do not wear uniforms as part of their official duties.
The Civil Liberties Union praised the adoption of the billBut he warned that officers might try to rely on displaying badge numbers instead of their names, which could be difficult for protesters to remember.
However, the organization said, “However, the message that Congress sends to the executive branch and incorporates it into law is unambiguous: Secret police forces that patrol our neighborhoods in response to protests and other mass gatherings … do not belong to a democracy like the United States.”