On Sunday, David Simon published an op-ed in the Post railing against the Baltimore Police Department’s recent refusal to release the names of cops involved in shootings. (He also pissed on the press—-MSM and “citizen bloggers”—-for not challenging the department on its no-names policy.
“In January, a new Baltimore police spokesman — a refugee from the Bush administration — came to the incredible conclusion that the city department could decide not to identify those police officers who shot or even killed someone. (Similar policies have been established by several other police departments in the United States as well as by the FBI.)
Anthony Guglielmi, the department’s director of public affairs, informed Baltimoreans that, henceforth, Police Commissioner Frederick Bealefeld would decide unilaterally whether citizens would know the names of those who had used their weapons on civilians. If they did something illegal or unwarranted — in the commissioner’s judgment — they would be named. Otherwise, the Baltimore department would no longer regard the decision to shoot someone as the sort of responsibility for which officers might be required to stand before the public./blockquote>
I sympathize with Simon on this one. The D.C. police department not only refuses to release the names of officers involved in shootings, its spokesperson doesn’t quite understand the need for such openness.
I was able to get the names of the cops in the David Kerstetter shooting only by talking to friendly officers and digging up the officers’ phone numbers. [The Post never bothered to even name Kerstetter in its short account of the shooting]. The department still wouldn’t confirm the names even after I interviewed the cops. A few months later, an officer shot and killed Osman Abdullahi, and an off-duty cop shot another mentally ill man the next day.
The D.C. police investigation into the DeOnte Rawlings shooting has yet to be made public. The head of the police union, Kristopher Baumann says the Rawlings case should be made public. He blames Mayor Adrian M. Fenty for keeping the investigation under wraps.
“This is a decision the mayor is making,” Baumann says. “If they did start making those investigations public, I would be fascinated to see how that would go.” He’s open to the idea but with one important caveat: make all cases public.
“You can’t have one standard for police officers and one for high-ranking officials,” he says. “That would be one of the issues….If you do it for the Rawlings case, it has to be done for all cases and all situations. It has to be one standard. That standard has to be across the board.”
But Baumann is against naming names. I will have more posts on this issue later today.
Photo of David Kerstetter provided by the Kerstetter family