The Slatest

Police in Ferguson Haven’t Been Wearing Identification

The officers in this photo from Friday, Aug. 15 do not appear to be wearing identification.

Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images

Huffington Post reporter Ryan Reilly, who was arrested on Wednesday for not leaving a Ferguson, Missouri, McDonald’s fast enough, writes on Twitter that Ferguson police have not been, and are still not, wearing nametags or any other means of identifying themselves:

Here’s a photo he says is indicative (the item on the right side of the officer’s shirt is not a nametag, Reilly says):

St. Louis’s Riverfront Times reported the same allegation Wednesday, writing that a protestor “approached Riverfront Times and pointed at the line. ‘The police are not wearing nametags,’ he said. ‘They don’t want us to identify them, just like they won’t identify the killer.’ ” Here’s another photo that seems to show officers without identification:

Scott Olson/Getty

Missouri Highway Patrol Capt. Ron Johnson, who is now supervising Ferguson security, seemed to confirm the reports when asked about the issue today. From the Huffington Post:

“What happened is, some people are taking their names and going on the Internet and getting their identities and social security numbers, and so that’s been occurring,” Johnson said.

“I can’t set rules for another police department,” Johnson added, telling Reilly the Ferguson police chief would have to address the identification issues. Johnson also noted Missouri State Highway Patrol officers have removed their name tags “for their safety and security, but if you ask them their name they’ve been told to tell you.”

Former St. Louis Police Chief Dan Isom, who is now a professor of criminal justice at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, told Slate that he is “not aware” of any law that requires police in Missouri to wear identification or give their names if asked. (Such behavior is a requirement in some states.) He added, however, that “most police departments have these policies.”

Read the rest of Slate’s coverage of the protests in Ferguson.