Good Idea, but It Won’t Make It to the President’s Desk

The annual defense policy bill has language that requires federal agents, both law enforcement and military will be required to wear insignia and identify themselves when arresting people during civil disturbances.

I do not believe that this will make it out of Congress, but it should:

Congress is set to approve a defense policy bill that bars unidentified federal law enforcement officers from policing protests. The bill responds to a phenomenon that Mother Jones flagged in June: Unidentified federal law enforcement officers with no identifying insignia joined in the Trump administration’s coordinated crackdown on protests against police violence in several cities earlier this summer.

The 4,500-page annual defense policy bill that emerged from a House-Senate policy committee Thursday requires any armed forces personnel, including National Guard members, and federal law enforcement agents who respond to a “civil disturbance,” to display either their name or some other “individual identifier,” as well as the organization or branch of the Armed Forces for whom they work.

This provision is a direct response to the presence in multiple cities of unidentified federal officers last summer. I first reported on this issue on June 3 during a protest in Washington. Agents I approached would only say that they worked for the “Department of Justice” or the “federal government.” Other reporters elicited similar responses.

Basically, this means that they need to wear a badge identifying which agency that they work for, and a badge number so that they can be personally identified for complaints.

This is long overdue, and should be adopted at the state and local level too.

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