At the ongoing Occupy Oakland protest, cameras are everywhere. Protesters ceaselessly film their interactions with the police, and post videos of incidents during which they feel they were mistreated online, often naming the police officers involved. One Oakland police officer, in what appears to be an attempt to avoid such scrutiny, decided to cover his nameplate in black tape – a move that has backfired on him in a major way.
Last week, a filmmaker in Oakland, California saw a group of policemen on a side street near the site of the Occupy Oakland protest. He noticed one of the officers had covered his name tag, and repeatedly asked him why. The officer ignored him, so the filmmaker turned to one of his superiors, and asked him the same question. The superior then made the officer take the tape off his nameplate.
This video, which was viewed by hundreds of people online, has prompted the Oakland Police Department to launch an investigation. “When I saw [the video], I was appalled by what I saw,” Police Chief Howard Jordan told a local television station. He confirmed that an officer concealing his identity is contrary both to his department’s policy and to California law.