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Naming cops who shoot

The debate over whether Baltimore police should name officers who shoot people in the line-of-duty got more interesting when the chair of the City Council's public safety committee and City Council president wrote a letter to the police commissioner about whether a new policy banning the release is a good idea.

The department's new spokesman, Anthony Guglielmi, says it's needed to protect the safety of police officers. The letter from Jack Young and Stephanie Rawlings-Blake notes that a careful balance must be struck between safety and ensuring an open and transparent department.

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This morning, after my column criticizing the new policy came out, Guglielmi sent me this email with a link to a story in California:

This story reaffirms the importance being cautious with police identies

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

(01-06) 22:06 PST San Francisco -- Johannes Mehserle, the BART police officer who fatally shot a man on the Fruitvale Station platform in Oakland early New Year's Day, is being kept under wraps and moved from place to place after receiving a number of death threats, BART spokesman Linton Johnson confirmed Tuesday night.

Mehserle, 27, a two-year veteran of the BART police force, shot and killed 22-year-old Oscar Grant of Hayward as Grant lay face-down on the station platform following a fight between two groups on a train.

While the nature of the threats hasn't been revealed, Johnson said at least one of the threats was made to Mehserle's family. As a result, he has been moved twice.

Here's the letter:

 


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