GOP lawmakers in Arizona are reacting to the recent media attention to police brutality cases by attempting to scale back transparency. Arizona Senate Bill 1445 would prohibit law enforcement agencies from releasing the names of officers “involved in a use of deadly physical force incident that results in death or serious physical injury" for 60 days after the confrontation.
The bill has already been passed by Arizona’s House of Representatives, with only 13 votes against it, and is set to hit the Senate for a vote this week. If approved there, it would have to get signed off by Governor Doug Ducey, who has hacked away at state programs while earmarking millions of dollars for private prisons.
If it becomes law, this legislation would obviously erode an oversight apparatus that already barely exists. In a piece from last year, titled “Why It’s Impossible to Indict a Cop,” Brooklyn attorney Chase Madar wrote that, “The reality is, it is extremely difficult to get law enforcement to police itself, and self-regulation is here, just as it is in poultry processing or coal mining, a sick joke.”
Opponents of the bill have begun to rally in front of the Governor’s office, insisting that the bill would have devastating impact. “Police officers have an extraordinary power because they can detain, search, arrest and have the ability to shoot to kill," Alessandra Soler, executive director of the ACLU of Arizona, told the local news, "That is when the transparency and accountability needs to be the strongest."
Michael Arria is the author of Medium Blue: The Politics of MSNBC. Follow @MichaelArria on Twitter.