Multimedia mashup: Seven Colorado-lawmakers’ attempts at police reform; protestors rally

Multimedia mashup: Seven Colorado-lawmakers’ attempts at police reform; protestors rally

A couple dozen protestors gathered outside the state Capitol on May Day, faces hidden and flags waving. They were trying to end police brutality. Meanwhile, inside the Capitol, lawmakers have been busy working on a slate of police reforms, some doomed and others likely to pass.

While lawmakers in suits and demonstrators in masks don’t always see eye to eye, we found their simultaneous actions worth noting.

"What made me awaken was that my stepfather was a deputy and I saw him do so many things in that system that bothered me. I became a Sheriff Explorer to see the system and from the inside. When I saw the failures time and time again, them doing things that were so absolutely wrong, I quit immediately and realized our system was fucked, just absolutely broken. "

“What made me awaken was that my stepfather was a deputy, and I saw him do so many things in that system that bothered me. I became a Sheriff Explorer to see the system from the inside. When I saw the failures time and time again, them doing things that were so absolutely wrong, I quit immediately and realized our system was fucked, just absolutely broken.” — “Highliner”

Here are seven of the police-reform bills lawmakers have tried to pass this session.

Still alive

1) Rotten fruit

Right now, if members of law enforcement are caught lying about an investigation or excessive force, they can ask to have the record of the incident sealed in exchange for resigning. Then these officers can apply to a new department or agency without the violation appearing on their background check. The “bad apples” bill would close this loophole and make it impossible for these officers to testify in court. It is sitting on the Governor’s desk.

2) Clear winner

A bill to increase transparency about officer-involved shootings is headed to the Governor’s desk.

3) Record this

Above is a video made by Jesse Benn contesting a police narrative claiming a demonstrator knocked a cop off his motorcycle. The video also shows an officer shutting down a citizen recording. There’s a bipartisan bill this session to clarify when police can take someone’s phone and footage and to limit the timeframe during which officers can hold personal property while seeking a warrant. This bill is headed to the Governor’s desk.

4) External affairs

Another bill to ensure that departments don’t investigate their own officer-involved shootings still has a chance of passing.

"As Christians, Jesus told us to stand with the poor and the oppressed … we’re also called to love our enemies. We're called to love the police, the people who participate in a system of violence, but we’re not called to stand with them, so it’s tricky."

Killed bills

Many police-reform measures died this session, apparently due to cost.

5) Body cams

A bipartisan bill to encourage body cameras on cops kicked the bucket; its price tag was around $100,000.

6) Mixing it up

A bipartisan bill to increase diversity and community-policing efforts in police-officer training also died; the state thought it would cost $350,000.

We’re now spending more money on the office of the independent monitor… he’s acquiring staff to look over the shoulder of the internal affairs bureau, but he has no power over dis, no authority to change their decisions.  Hickenlooper created the offices of COB they meet every months to take complaints about the DPD  …. yet we’ve had case after case after case of police killings in the jail, horrific assaults, large settlements. I believe from personal experience that the DPD routinely engages in felonious conduct related to the filing of false criminal charges and purgers affidavits. People are fond of saying we just not need to find those few bad apples… but there seems to be a universal feelings that they just make things up as they go along.

7) Waiving charges

Another bill would have waived criminal charges if they were based on an officer’s unlawful order. The bill said “unlawful order” means an order that violates a person’s constitutional or statutory rights. The measure had bipartisan sponsorship from one of the most conservative members of the house, Rep. Justin Everett, R-Littleton, and one of the most liberal, Rep. Joe Salazar, D-Thornton. However, it didn’t make it out of its first committee.

With three days left in the session and the national movement against police brutality growing, we’ll see how the still-living police-reform bills will thrive.
Still images by Tessa Cheek. 

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About the Author

Tessa Cheek

She writes and makes photos about communities. Her book, Great Wall Style, a monograph-profile-lyric essay, is out from Images Publishing. tcheek@coloradoindependent.com | 720-440-2527 | @tessacheek

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