In most California cities, when a police officer kills somebody, the police department withholds the officer’s name from the public. If an ordinary citizen kills somebody, the suspect’s name is released. The double standard may not be legal, however.
The Chronicle reported this morning that the ACLU of Northern California is considering a lawsuit over the practice. The ACLU filed a public records request with BART seeking the name of the officer who shot a man at the San Francisco Civic Center Plaza on July 3. BART denied the request, citing what’s known as the Copley case, which strengthened a state law sealing off misconduct inquiries from public view.
However, the Chron’s Demain Bulwa reports that the law on releasing cops’ names is far from settled. In fact, the argument for disclosure was strengthened by an opinion by Jerry Brown, when he was attorney general.