Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Law Enforcement Integrity Act passes Senate with bipartisan support

Posted By on Tue, Jun 9, 2020 at 12:43 PM

click to enlarge Representative Leslie Herod
  • Representative Leslie Herod
Senate Bill 217, the Law Enforcement Integrity Act, has passed with a vote of 32-1 in the Colorado Senate.

“Don’t let anyone tell you that protesting doesn’t work or isn’t productive,” Representative Leslie Herod said in a news release announcing the bill’s passage. “For several days now, Coloradans have been protesting in the thousands demanding justice for George Floyd. They have been venting their anger and frustration at the many black and brown people killed at the hands of law enforcement, which, let’s be clear, is happening within our own Colorado communities. SB217 is, in part, an answer to their call.

“I am so proud of my colleagues in the Senate,” she added. “It’s now time for us in the House to step up and pass this bill.”

SB 20-217 will increase accountability and transparency within Colorado’s law enforcement system, and aims to bring “bold change” to how law enforcement treats all Coloradans. 

The bill:
• creates a police officer duty to intervene;
• strengthens the existing criminal legal standard applicable to police officers using excessive force; and
• explicitly outlaws the chokehold and protects protesters from police violence.

SB 20-217 also removes the shield of immunity for prosecution from law enforcement found to have acted unlawfully, and requires all law enforcement to use body cameras and to collect and report data on people who are stopped and searched.

The bill requires the Peace Officer Standards and Training board to create and maintain a database containing information related to a peace officer's: untruthfulness; repeated failure to follow P.O.S.T. board training requirements; decertification; and termination for cause.

“What we accomplished with Senate Bill 217 serves as a reminder that direct action matters. Protest matters. Black lives matter,” Elisabeth Epps, an abolitionist with the Colorado Freedom Fund and American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado said in the news release.

Senate Bill 217 will now be sent over to the House, where Herod and Rep. Serena Gonzales-Gutierrez, with the backing of the entire House Democratic Caucus, plan to "carry it over the finish line." 

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