Yesterday, a violent video of a school resource police officer throwing a black, female student out of her desk and placing her in a choke-hold emerged from a Columbia, South Carolina high school. Back home in Pennsylvania, there is legislation pending in the General Assembly that would shield officer Ben Fields from the “use of force” seen in this video.
Last month, Representative Martina White, standing alongside Philadelphia Fraternal Order of Police President John McNesby, introduced House Bill 1538, which is designed to sweep officer related shootings and use of force from the public record. If “the law enforcement officer is not charged with a criminal offense relating to the discharge of the firearm or use of force” then “the law enforcement officer’s name and identifying information may not be released to the public.”
These quotes come straight from the bill itself. According to FOP President John McNesby, the need for this legislation comes from the “outward disdain” for police officers throughout the state and country. If School Resource Officer Ben Fields committed this action in the state of Pennsylvania and no cell phones were present, his name would have been protected from the public, but thankfully we’re living in a world where cameraphones and social media can publicize these actions.