As cities nationwide grapple with fatal police shootings, many involving unarmed black men, Pennsylvania’s legislature on Thursday passed and sent to Gov. Wolf a bill that would block public officials from immediately releasing the names of officers involved in such incidents.
The measure, sponsored by Republican state Rep. Martina White of Philadelphia and approved by the GOP-controlled legislature, stoked sharp opinions and drew votes largely along partisan lines.
Supporters say the bill, supported by several local police unions, is necessary to protect police officers and their families after such incidents.
“We are the protectors of our protectors,” said one proponent, Rep. Dominic Costa, a Pittsburgh De mocrat.
Opponents said the bill flies in the face of transparency, which they believe is even more critical in tragic circumstances involving police shootings.
“Do not undermine the bridges that have been built between law enforcement and communities of color,” said Rep. Margo Davidson (D., Delaware) during a floor debate. “This legislation will do nothing but breed suspicion.”