PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A Philadelphia judge has denied a challenge by the Fraternal Order of Police to block the release of an officer’s name in 72 hours if they are involved in the use of lethal force.
City officials say the policy builds public trust. Union lawyers claim it puts officers and their families in danger.
City lawyers argued, since the policy was enacted in July of 2015 on releasing the name of an officer involved in a police-related shooting, 64 of 65 cases have gone unnoticed. It wasn’t until a late August protest outside the Bustleton home of an officer involved in a fatal shooting that threats were allegedly made.
City Solicitor Sozi Pedro Tulante says the city did a “robust threat assessment,” following that small, but raucous, protest by a handful of Black Lives Matter members.
“Our policy isn’t that we automatically release the name. We make sure the officer is safe. If the threat assessment finds that not to be the case, we would not do it,” Tulante said.
He says officials determined the information could be safely released.
“We don’t want a Ferguson, a Chicago, Baltimore, or St. Louis. Part of that comes from the sense that the police department is being transparent,” said Tulante.
“We’re disappointed, but we still have other ways to stop this policy that was imposed on our members,” said FOP President John McNesby.
McNesby says the union is still pursuing the matter before the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board, claiming the city “unilaterally changed its policy on releasing names, without negotiating.”
He remains hopeful that pending state legislation would effectively delay releasing the names of officers involved in fatal shootings.