Democratic lawmakers on Wednesday called for legislation to force federal law enforcement officers to identify what department they represent.
The calls come after federal law enforcement officers clashed with demonstrators outside the White House, but wore no identifying insignia on their uniforms. While Army and National Guard personnel are required to wear uniforms with insignia, federal police do not operate under the same requirements.
“Unacceptable for uniformed federal officers policing constitutionally-protected assemblies to refuse to identify themselves to people who pay their salaries,” Representative Don Breyer (D., Va.) wrote on Twitter. “Denying accountability to the public they serve ensures abuses. I’m working on legislation to stop this. More to come.”
Senator Chris Murphy (D., Conn.) said later on Wednesday that he was also working on such legislation. It is not clear if Murphy’s and Breyer’s efforts were connected.
“We cannot tolerate an American secret police. I will be introducing legislation to require uniformed federal officers performing any domestic security duties to clearly identify what military branch or agency they represent,” Murphy wrote on Twitter.
Demonstrators have over the past week been protesting the death of George Floyd, an African-American man who was killed during his arrest by Minneapolis police officers. On Monday evening police used pepper balls and smoke cannisters to clear demonstrators from Lafayette Park in Washington, D.C., as President Trump made his way to St. John’s Episcopal Church where he was photographed with a bible in hand.