Without public discussion, the Los Angeles Police Commission decided two months ago to overturn a 25-year-old policy and withhold the names of police officers involved in shootings, the Los Angeles Times reports. Commission President John W. Mack, a prominent civil rights activist who has insisted on holding officers accountable, said the panel made the change after being told that state law protects the privacy of officers. The commission has released the names of officers involved in shootings since 1980; the actions of such officers have frequently been the object of intense public interest, and officers have routinely objected to being identified.
On Friday, after inquiries from The Times, the commission scheduled a public discussion of the policy change for today’s meeting. The change was prompted, in part, by Executive Director Richard Tefank, a former Buena Park police chief who has long said he believes the panel violates the law by releasing too much information about shootings. “The irony of all this,” Mack said, “is that, frankly, it’s the commission’s desire to really become more public in sharing with the public the decisions that we make in closed session regarding the use of force incidents that we consider every week.”