Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies are now allowed to cover up their name plates while policing protests in the city.
LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said he okayed the move — a reversal of a long-standing department policy — after “numerous” instances in which protesters released personal information about himself and his deputies, the Los Angeles Time said in a report.
Deputies will still display their badges.
“It turns out that the name tapes are going to be covered and they’re going to be replaced with a badge number, an identifying number, and that will comply with state law,” Villanueva said during a live Facebook broadcast on Wednesday.
“The interesting thing about what happened with the name coverings is that some protesters were actually using the deputy’s names to then go dox them,” he said. “Blast their home address on social media, show up at their houses, vandalize their homes. That is not exactly the intent of state law.”
California state law requires law enforcement officers to display some form of identification, whether it’s a badge number or name.
But the move angered protesters and civil rights advocates, who said concealing the deputies’ names makes it more difficult to identify cops who overstep their authority.
“You should be able to know the name of a deputy who you interact with,” law professor Sean Kennedy, who sits on the local Civilian Oversight Commission, told the LA Times.
“There’s no way that we can effectively monitor law enforcement if you can’t even get the name of a deputy that you’re interacting with in public who has some kind of use of force or action against you,” Kennedy said.
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