On Friday Colorado Governor Jared Polis signed a controversial bill aimed at increasing the state’s police accountability amid the massive protests sweeping across the United States. The bill, highly criticized by Colorado police union would end the qualified immunity imbibed on police officers in the state of Colorado.
The qualified immunity act grants police officers, state employees and federal agents and employees immunity from prosecution for misconduct while performing their duties. This has however resulted in the police becoming immune from prosecution for murder and assault. The new bill will also prohibit the use of chokeholds and other excessive use of force on suspects.
The bill also mandates that all officers who interact with the public should be wearing a functioning body camera. And to assure transparency and accountability, unedited footage from these cameras should be made available to the public within 21 days of filing for a misconduct case against an officer.
Though the bill was positively received by the state’s Senator Rhonda fields and Representatives, House of Representatives member Gonzales-Gutierrez who co-sponsored the bill said that “This is not the end. This is one small step and there is a tremendous amount of work ahead of us.” noting on the decades old police laws that are being questioned after a series of deaths and systemic bias against the minorities. The bill is just one in a long line of police reform as several U.S states has promised to reform their police departments with some even planning to defund the police and use the funds to invest in the public sector.