It seems like there’s going to be plenty to write on in the next several days, so I would expect fewer long posts and quite a few more shorter ones. Today’s discussion: Mandatory Name Tags.
Protesters have repeatedly found issue with the removal or use of uniforms without name tags. They claim officers are willfully removing identifying markers so that it is more difficult to identify them later. It is being used as evidence that these officers intend to abuse citizens.
The problem with this reasoning is that given the threats levied at officers and their families, the use of identity theft (like in the case of Sgt. Dilworth), false reports, and libel/slander as a regular protest tactic, it is completely understandable why officers would want to remove their name tags. What’s more, it is common for officers wearing tactical uniforms not to have name-tags. It is also common for officers not to wear name tags over top of jackets, like the type being worn as the temperature in St. Louis has dropped into the teens repeatedly at night.
However, Christie Lopez, Deputy Chief in charge of Special Litigation for the United States Department of Justice (pictured above), was recently quoted as saying the name-tag issue was “non-negotiable.” With all due respect, to Ms. Lopez, I have a number of questions:
- What legal authority does the Department of Justice have over day-to-day policy in any local law enforcement agency not operating under a consent decree?
- Where in the US Code or legal precedent has it ever been decided that Law Enforcement must identify themselves?
- Follow up: Where in the US Code or legal precedent has it ever been decided that Law Enforcement must identify themselves by way of a name tag as a opposed to other methods such as verbal identification, business card, or badge?
- If applicable to local law enforcement, where in the US Code or legal precedent is it articulated that US DOJ employees are exempt from the mandate on name tags and identification?
The bottom line is that all of the above questions share a similar answer.
- The DOJ has no authority over local police agency day-to-day operating policy when not under a consent decree.
- There is no federal legal basis for these demands.
- Without a legal basis, secondary questions are pointless.
- Since the legal authority and statutory mandate doesn’t exist, it also doesn’t exist for DOJ employees. Perhaps there is DOJ policy that states otherwise if there is no Federal Law requirement?
In the last several weeks it has been increasingly clear where our safety ranks in the minds of Eric Holder’s justice department. I would go as far as to say that the DOJ’s intervention in day-to-day law enforcement activity but not in the direct terroristic threats levied against LEO’s by those like the RBG Black Rebels (which I’ve been informed stands for Revolutionary but Gangster) is evidence that we are supposed to be punished, perhaps even violently. It’s beyond tying our hands at this point. The DOJ has handed the protesters a baseball bat and locked the door.