As Washington DC gears up for pro-Trump protests today, federal agents will be required to wear visible identification if they are responding to a “civil disturbance.”

The new law is included as part of the recently passed National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and states: “Whenever a member of the armed forces (including the National Guard) or Federal law enforcement personnel provide support to Federal authorities to respond to a civil disturbance, each individual employed in the capacity of providing such support shall visibly display … the individual’s name or other individual identifier that is unique to that individual and the name of the armed force, Federal entity, or other organization by which such individual is employed.”

The bill excludes undercover operations and those who do not wear a uniform or similar distinguishing clothing or equipment.

During protests this summer in Portland, OR and also in DC, federal agencies created concern when they sent agents into demonstrations in unmarked vehicles and without names, agencies or other identifiers on uniforms.

In a letter to the Department of Justice regarding the upcoming protests, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser recalled problems when armed officers working for federal agencies staffed protests without identification over the summer, including in Lafayette Park.

Nobody could tell who was who.

Bowser said this “caused confusion among residents and visitors and could become a national security threat with no way for MPD and federal law enforcement to decipher armed groups.”

In Portland, OR over the summer armed and unidentifiable federal agents dressed in camouflage arrested protestors and hauled them away in unmarked vehicles. Federal officials later identified the agents as part of US Customs and Border Protection.

Not surprisingly, the The American Civil Liberties Union says the new law is “good news.”

“Requiring such identification should be a no-brainer in a democracy,” said Kate Oh, Policy Counsel with the ACLU National Political Advocacy Department. “When government employees are interacting with members of the public and exercising government authority, such as the power to arrest people, the public should have the right to know who the employees are and which agency employs them.”

However, it should be noted this comes at a time of unprecedented attacks on police officers.

Last summer, roughly 40 law enforcement officers were “doxed” during protests in Portland and had their personal information — including addresses and phone numbers — posted publicly, putting them and their families at risk of reprisal.

Across the nation. the number of law enforcement officers shot in the line of duty reached an all-time high last year, according to new statistics shared by the National Fraternal Order of Police (FOP).

By mid-December last year, at least 283 police officers had sustained injuries from gunfire while in the line of duty, with 44 fatalities.

Today in DC we shall see how this all plays out.

As Congress meets to certify the results of the 2020 presidential election, pro-Trump protests are planned by multiple groups, including the Proud Boys.

President Trump himself will be speaking at the Save America Rally on the Ellipse tomorrow at 11 a.m. The Ellipse (sometimes referred to as President’s Park South) is a 52-acre park south of the White House fence and north of Constitution Avenue and the National Mall.

The DC Police Department has announced traffic closures throughout the city in anticipation of “First Amendment activity.”

Notices have also been posted throughout the city prohibiting any Second Amendment activity.

Guess we’ll see how that goes…

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