Social Question

jca's avatar

Are you in favor of an organization releasing the name of the police officer who shot the unarmed boy in Missouri, and if that happens, what will be the long term effect on law enforcement's diligence?

Asked by jca (35984points) August 14th, 2014

Long story short: There’s still rioting in Missouri over the shooting of the 18 year old unarmed boy by police. The police department is not releasing the officer’s name to protect his safety and the incident is being investigated by authorities to determine what happened.

The loosely based organization Anonymous has hacked the police department’s 911 dispatch and is threatening further interference with the police department’s computer system. They’ve also threatened to release the name of the police officer.

They have released the names and address of the Police Chief and his family members.

Are you in favor of complete transparency in regards to police activities (such as releasing the names of officers who do things like what occurred in Missouri)?

If the names of officers are released and their personal information is compromised, what will be the long term effect of police diligence? Do you think police officers will be more lax when it comes to doing their jobs if they feel their personal safety may be the result of things that occur at work? Will they just want to “do their 20 years and get out?” Or is complete transparency a good thing for all involved?

NY Times article today:

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30 Answers

SQUEEKY2's avatar

NO, I don’t think they should release the name of the officer,until after the investigation it would just put him and family member in possible danger.
NOW with that said, now when the police are involved in a questionable act, they should be investigated by a total independent commity , and not a branch of themselves.

dappled_leaves's avatar

I think the police officer should not be given any special treatment – the cry to protect the officer from vigilantism is just a lame excuse to protect him from the consequences of a bad shooting. No one is worried about the police not being able to do their jobs. They are worried about Missouri’s history of racism within police departments, and therefore about the investigation not being taken seriously.

“The best policy for all parties involved in a shooting is a 48-hour release policy. Neither the officer’s name nor the name of the individual shot should be released for 48 hours. This gives involved officers time to notify their families and arrange for temporary, secure accommodations if they fear threats or retaliation may follow.” Source

Why can they not simply follow this policy, which already assumes fear of retaliation?

zenvelo's avatar

The name should have been released days ago, and any means to release it now should be encouraged.

Ferguson MO needs federal intervention to protect the citizenry from the paramilitary thugs of the police force.

rojo's avatar

I think it is past time to release the information. I think the more transparent government and government agencies are the better off we are as a society.
I do think the 48 hour window is appropriate.

elbanditoroso's avatar

Does the phrase getting away with murder mean anything?

Maybe the policeman was justified, maybe not. But unless he is identified and the investigation handled in an open and forthcoming way, there will be huge (and justifiable) doubt about it. Ferguson’s police chief is doing himself no favors at all.

I don’t know the facts – none of us do. But things are pretty suspicious looking, and in the absence of facts, people make up their own.

Aethelwine's avatar

My niece attends university near St. Louis and posted this image that she found on the internet. She’s scared for her safety. I would hate to be a member of the innocent family of the police officer. What about their safety?

Jaxk's avatar

They are already looting and rioting in Ferguson. Why would anyone want to hand the name and address of the cop to a mob. I dislike cops as much as anyone but without them our lives would be much worse (dangerous) than they are. And even if you hate the cops bad enough to hand his name and address to a mob, what has his family done to deserve this kind of fear and intimidation. A mob has no common sense nor does it care who it hurts. If you’re concerned about police racism, Eric Holder is already involved and he’s not likely to let this go. Creating more rioting and looting won’t make anyone safer, especially in Ferguson.

zenvelo's avatar

Anonymous has released the name of the police officer,

@Jaxk The police in this country have killed more unarmed citizens since 2000 that terrorists have.

rojo's avatar

@jonsblond It looks like this is way more than just a reaction to the death. The death was evidently just the catalyst that brought suppressed anger to the surface.
I know that it is those in the poorer neighborhoods who usually suffer from the rioting and destruction. What you niece posted seems to indicate that people in those neighborhoods are finally figuring it out.

rojo's avatar

Rioting and looting are people taking advantage of the death. They are not protesters but criminals.

Jaxk's avatar

@zenvelo – So have unarmed citizens.

zenvelo's avatar

@Jaxk I am in favor of that, as I have said on numerous threads on this site.

jca's avatar

I agree with @jonsblond. What about the children and the wife of the officer (or the police chief, as I detailed his address and family members were already named)? Should they be threatened or harmed or in fear for their lives? How sad for them, too.

zenvelo's avatar

Why should they be scared? Are they scared of the police officer? Are they next? Or are they safe because they are white?

hominid's avatar

Because of the power that we afford the police, I believe they should have less right to privacy and more transparency than the general public. Of course they should release the name.

@jca: “what will be the long term effect on law enforcement’s diligence?”

If diligence == shooting and killing unarmed teens, then I hope it decreases their diligence.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I don’t think it should be released until the investigation is complete. How many times do you see people posting anti-police videos on their FB page? The attitude seems to be that ALL police officers are violent bullies. The circumstances surrounding those videos are never discussed.

johnpowell's avatar

Around five years ago I was at a bar that was across the street from tiny public park. There was a lot of noise and we went out for a look. It was madness. A few homeless people in tents were trying to sleep.

The response to this was Armored vehicles with a SWAT team clinging to the back.

A few years earlier the government gave our local police a bunch of spare equipment the military no longer needed. They have these toys so they might as well use them. Sigh..

And Fuck The Police.

eno's avatar

I believe in gov/state/local transparency but not when it compromises security. In this case, it compromises the safety of the officer and his family. The reason these people want his name released is for unlawful violent retribution. The reason is based on the behavior (threats and assaults) of residence in the county where this incident took place, along with the statistically significant crime data of aforementioned ethnic group involved.

The long term transparency effects for officers will not deter them from providing a quality service because their job depends on the results of their work. If crime spikes on account of “do nothing cops”, then the citizens and lawyers are going to bring the hammer down on the city to clean up the police houses or else.

johnpowell's avatar

Maybe his safety needs to be compromised. I wouldn’t normally say this but the rash of cops not giving a shit about killing a black man or child is a abomination. Perhaps one cop needs to be hung from a lamp to prove that there are repercussions.

eno's avatar

That comes off as blacks are ok with lynching as long as it’s whites who are being lynched.

Also, you have to consider the situation. In the heat of the moment, you don’t have time to think things through, thoroughly, which means you rely on your training and instincts. Furthermore, it isn’t even mentioned if the cop was taking orders from his superiors.

johnpowell's avatar

Or maybe it is this white middle-class dude that has had enough of cops killing black people for no reason this month.

syz's avatar

No. Vigilantism is not a good thing.

johnpowell's avatar

Syz.. Then what is to be done? Offer a suggestion. I am all ears.

johnpowell's avatar

And keep in mind the death penalty is used as a deterrent.

zenvelo's avatar

@eno Why don’t you consider that it is to hold the policeman accountable in a court of law for murdering an unarmed teenager? The Police arrest first and let the courts decide, unless it’s one of their own that they hide away and protect.

eno's avatar


Perhaps, but it isn’t up to you or the street to decide whether what the police man did was unlawful. You don’t have all the facts of the case. It is up to the investigation/court to decide whether there was a valid reason for the killing and whether that reason was justified.


That is what lawmen/lawyers are for. If you don’t like the lawmen involved, you can have them replaced like in the Zimmerman case and if you don’t like the conclusion of the investigation, get a lawyer.

Also, when you gather all the information, the probability of the intention for wanting the name released is a violent intention rather than an “open and fairness one”. At least that is according to how I made sense of the available information about this incident.

zenvelo's avatar

@eno, so you are assuming it was all okay to kill an unarmed teen, and let the investigation run its course. But the police don’t do that to other criminals, they try people in the press all the time. Why are they not open and transparent? They failed to disclose right away, they failed to question witnesses, they ignored other factors.

The public is overwhelmingly angry about the cover-up of the murder. And the police respond by violating civil rights all over the place.

eno's avatar

I never made an assumption that the cops actions were lawful. I have no idea where you derived that from.

You wrote, But the police don’t do that to other criminals, they try people in the press all the time. Why are they not open and transparent? They failed to disclose right away.

Clarify the italicized sentence with specifics.

You wrote, they failed to question witnesses, they ignored other factors.

Who reported that they didn’t question any witnesses?
What are these other factors that they ignored?

tinyfaery's avatar

Of course his name should be released. As far as I’m concerned the entire police force should have their names released.

A job, as a public servant, does not mean you are exempt from disclosure of a possible crime. Alleged criminals’ names are released every day. A pig cop has no right to privacy, or special rights. If anything, they should have less privacy then an average citizen. They are paid by tax dollars and are accountable to the public at large.

As far as innocent family members, maybe people should think of that before they so easily take a life. Karma sucks. And if that officer was my family member I would never trust them again and I would make it known I do not support them in any way.

ragingloli's avatar

Yes. If the state fails to serve justice, a righteous citizen will.

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