State Watch

Colorado legislature sends major police reform bill to governor’s desk

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Lawmakers in Colorado passed a bill on Saturday that would introduce a sweeping set of reforms for law enforcement in the state, including a ban on chokeholds and a provision requiring officers to intervene if they see excessive force being used.

The bill, which Gov. Jared Polis (D) has reportedly vowed to sign into law, passed the state Senate on Saturday, according to the Denver Post. The proposal is one of the most wide-reaching plans introduced yet in the wake of protests over the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and other black Americans during encounters with police.

Among other provisions, the bill would force officers to face criminal charges for not intervening if a fellow officer is violating use of force policies, and also will prevent officers fired for misconduct from being rehired at other departments.

“Colorado is leading the way. We led the way when it came to gun safety reform measures, and we’re leading the way now when it comes to police reform measures,” one of the bill’s sponsors, state Sen. Rhonda Fields (D), told the Post.

“It’s bold, and in some areas, it will be a leader, and in other areas, it’s standing in line with other states,” added a spokesperson for the American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado in a statement.

The bill also moves Colorado’s body camera laws to be in line with other states; if passed, body camera footage from all police officers in the state will be available to members of the public upon request.

The legislation passed overwhelmingly in both chambers of the state legislature, with many Republicans joining Democrats in the face of widespread protests against police brutality and racism.

“We want accountability, we want transparency, and we got what we asked for,” state Sen. John Cooke (R) told the Post.

A spokesperson for the Colorado Association of Chiefs of Police, which represents law enforcement officers in the state, told the Post that some of the provisions had already been implemented by local agencies.

“Many of the policies included in Senate Bill 217 are already in place at the local level, but we are glad to have statutory support for changes that law enforcement can implement uniformly statewide,” said Broomfield Police Chief Gary Creager, according tot he Post. “We look forward to continued partnership with our communities and the Legislature to ensure policing in Colorado is transparent and fair.”

Tags Breonna Taylor protests Colorado George Floyd protests Jared Polis

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