Arizona Governor Vetoes Bill That Would Keep Police Names Secret After Shootings

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey in Phoenix during his election campaign in August.
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey in Phoenix during his election campaign in August.SAMANTHA SAIS / Reuters - file

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 / Updated  / Source: NBC News

Acknowledging that he was torn "as the son of a cop," Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey vetoed a bill Monday that would have kept the names of officers who use deadly force secret for 60 days.

State senators passed the bill last week, saying it would protect officers from threats and harassment. Ducey — a Republican whose father was a 12-year veteran of the Toledo, Ohio, Police Department — wrote in a veto letter that he had strong sympathy for that position, lamenting that "in an era of social media and 24-hour news commentary, these officers and their families have been subjected to public scorn, harassment and vicious attacks."

But Ducey said the "unintended consequences" of shielding officers in such sensitive cases outweighed the benefits.

"The wrong officer's name could circulate. Speculation replaces fact. It's very easy to see news outlets running with information that is unconfirmed or erroneous, and under this proposed law, police chiefs' hands would be tied and they would have no way to respond or set the record straight," he wrote. "The result could be the exact opposite of what this bill aims to do, escalating — rather than de-escalating — the situation and potentially putting completely innocent officers' reputations and safety on the line."

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