Colorado lawmakers unveiled a bill on June 3rd, that will bring accountability and transparency to police actions across Colorado.
This past week, cit
ies all over the United States have responded to the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man killed by police, with massive protests and demands for justice. Protestors are calling for more than the justice owed to George Floyd and his family. They are calling for an end to the racism that permeates our nation’s police and criminal legal systems. The need for reform is now.
State Representative Leslie Herod reiterated that this isn’t solely about George Floyd. Citing Elijah McClain, Marvin Booker, Michael Marshall, Jessie Hernández, and De’Von Bailey, Representative Herod continues, “this is about the killing of black people here in Colorado.”
The legislation is comprehensive. It appoints the State Attorney General as an independent investigator of all instances where law enforcement’s use of force results in death or serious bodily injury. The bill also removes the shield of immunity for prosecution from law enforcement found to have acted unlawfully, allowing peace officers to be sued in their individual capacity. The bill will additionally require all law enforcement to use body cameras and to collect and report data on the individuals that are stopped and searched.
“This isn’t only about what’s going on in other states,” says Senate President Leroy García. “This is about what’s happening in our own backyards. We shouldn’t need body cams to catch the lack of law enforcement integrity. If we sit idly by and do nothing to address police brutality, the profession’s reputation will continue to erode and that’s not good for anyone.”
House co-prime sponsor and chair of the Latino caucus Representative Gonzales-Gutiérrez is proud to carry this piece of legislation. “I come from a family who has long fought for accountability on all fronts. And I am very proud to champion a bill for my community.”
State Representative Leslie Herod acknowledges that, “of course, the great percentage of police officers operate with the utmost integrity. They need not fear. This legislation isn’t about them. It is about holding accountable those that take for granted the public trust; those that need policing.”
“The great percentage of police officers operate with the utmost integrity. They need not fear. This legislation isn’t about them. It is about holding accountable those that take for granted the public trust; those that need policing.”
Leslie Herod, CO State Representative
The legislation is being sponsored by Senate President Leroy García and Senator Rhonda Fields. The House sponsors are Representatives Leslie Herod and Serena Gonzales-Gutiérrez. The bill has been assigned to Senate State Affairs and it’s first scheduled hearing will be released shortly.
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