Ocasio-Cortez to introduce bill requiring federal officers to identify themselves
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and District of Columbia Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (D) will introduce a bill that would require all federal law enforcement officials to clearly identify themselves.
The bill would compel all on-duty agents to clearly display their agency name, their own last name and their identification number and would create a new oversight process within the Justice Department requiring recurring audits by its inspector general, The Nation reported.
While the issue has dominated the news in recent days since the Department of Homeland Security Personnel, many of them in unmarked vehicles, descended on Portland, Ore., Ocasio-Cortez’s office told the publication the legislation had been in the works before they were dispatched.
“Lots of lawyers are asking the same thing: Where’s the transparency? Unidentified internal security forces are apprehending American citizens, and accounts allege these apprehension processes are more similar to overseas renditions than traditional arrests,” Irvin McCullough, deputy director of legislation at the Government Accountability Project, told The Nation after viewing the draft bill.
“Citizens deserve to know who’s arresting them—or at least what entity—to report any abuses they suffer or witness,” he added.
“Federal law enforcement officers should have their identifying information displayed while on duty,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted. “This is basic.”
Federal law enforcement officers should have their identifying information displayed while on duty.
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) July 20, 2020
Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf has said local officials’ approval is not needed to launch such operations, and President Trump on Monday suggested similar deployments are in the works for other major cities.
The officers’ presence has also drawn criticism from Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who tweeted Monday that “local law enforcement can and should be handling these situations in our cities but there is no place for federal troops or unidentified federal agents rounding people up at will.”
The Hill has removed its comment section, as there are many other forums for readers to participate in the conversation. We invite you to join the discussion on Facebook and Twitter.