“Don’t let anyone tell you that protesting doesn’t work or isn’t productive,” said state Rep. Leslie Herod.
Herod helped draft the bill and formally announced it one week ago alongside Senate President Leroy Garcia.
“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,” Herod said.
The bill would require all officers across the state to wear body cameras by July 2023. Video would have to be released within 14 days.
An independent investigations unit would be established to determine if physical force was necessary. Officers who are determined to have used inappropriate force would be terminated.
Under the bill, officers who fail to intervene to stop the use of inappropriate force would also be terminated.
Officers who are found guilty of a crime or found liable in a civil suit would be decertified and could not be hired anywhere in the state.
Some members of Colorado’s law enforcement community, including Larimer County Sheriff Justin Smith, have expressed concerns with the bill.
Last week, Smith told FOX31 and Channel 2 he is concerned about removing qualified immunity, which provides protections against officers being sued.
Under the bill, people would be able to sue officers for up to $100,000.
“All that qualified immunity does, is take officers acting in good faith — following the rules and simply make a mistake — it provides them reasonable protections,” Smith said. “This law, unfortunately, will drive out the best folks, and it will make it harder to recruit.”