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