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.


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: