New Bill Would Require Federal Agents to Identify Themselves

The bill would compel agents to wear visible identification while on duty.

New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Washington D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton will be introducing a bill later this week that would require federal law enforcement officers to wear visible identification markers while on duty.

The Law Enforcement Identification Transparency Act of 2020 would mandate federal agents to visibly display both their last name and the name of their agency on their uniforms. Agents would also be issued their own badge ID numbers.

In addition, the legislation includes the implementation of routine compliance audits within federal agencies, which would later be reported to Congress.

“The head of each Federal law enforcement agency shall collect and submit to the Attorney General, on an annual basis, a report on the number of instances in which a Federal law enforcement officer did not comply with the requirement under subsection (a); and Federal law enforcement agency that has employed such officer,” the bill reads.

If passed, the legislation would require agencies to implement these new changes within 90 days of its enactment.

The bill comes as unidentified federal law enforcement officers have descended on Portland, Oregon, arresting protestors and bystanders, shoving them into unmarked vehicles, and using excessive force.

Deployed by the Department of Homeland Security, these agents have since been identified as members of the Border Patrol Tactical Units (BORTAC).

Documents obtained by The Nation reveal that these agents are part of the newly assembled Protecting American Communities Task Force (PACT), which was created in response to President Trump’s Executive Order on Protecting American Monuments, Memorials, and Statues and Combating Recent Criminal Violence.

While Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler has asked that the agents leave the city, Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf has refused to comply.

“I offered DHS support to help locally address the situation that’s going on in Portland, and their only response was: please pack up and go home,” Wolf said in an interview with Fox News. “That’s just not going to happen on my watch.”

According to Wheeler, however, protests were dwindling down when federal law enforcement officers showed up, and since then, their presence has only caused a rapid escalation in violence and arrests.

“They are sharply escalating the situation. Their presence here is actually leading to more violence and more vandalism. And it’s not helping the situation at all,” Wheeler said on CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday.

“They’re not wanted here. We haven’t asked them here. In fact, we want them to leave.”

Freelance writer covering culture, politics, and LGBTQ+ rights. catherineann.caruso@gmail.com

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