Police officers in Buffalo, New York, are no longer required to wear their names on their uniforms, CBS affiliate WIVB reported Thursday. Mayor Byron Brown's decision comes amid rising tension between police and protesters across the country, which deepened this week after a grand jury to indict any officers in connection with the fatal police shooting of Breonna Taylor.
Brown said the decision was designed to prevent people from sharing officers' personal information on the internet, which is also known as doxing. Instead of sharing their names, the officers are now permitted to use their badge numbers instead.
"What we have seen is that some of these doxing incidents are occurring from people that are not in this city, are not in this county, are not in this region, but people in different parts of the country, maybe internationally, that see a name on a uniform. And then go to work on the computer," Brown said, adding that the decision took effect last week.
Protesters have clashed with police for months during demonstrations against racism and police brutality, and officers have been accused on social media of covering up the names on their uniforms.
In June, Buffalo police drew nationwide condemnation after video showed an officer shoving a 75-year-old man who then fell back and hit his head on the pavement. Two officers were suspended without pay in connection with the incident, prompting members of the department's emergency response team to resign from the team. The two officers were later charged with second-degree assault and pled not guilty.