There’s no denying that Colorado (as well as other parts of the country) has a problem with police misconduct and brutality. That’s why Governor Jared Polis signed into being the Enhance Law Enforcement Integrity bill in mid-2020.
The bill, which is designed to hold the police accountable for their actions, is slowly helping the wheels of social change start to turn. Understanding key facets about what the bill requires can help you and your loved ones understand when a rogue officer has abused their power.
What the Enhance Law Enforcement Integrity bill says about the use of force
Under the bill, there are very specific guidelines given to the police about the use of force. For example, officers who respond to protests are not permitted to fire non-lethal projectiles (such as rubber bullets) randomly into groups of people, nor may they target a specific person’s back, hips or head.
In one-on-one situations, officers are now expressly forbidden to:
- Use carotid chokeholds, which present a triple threat to a suspect’s life, since they can cause them to suffocate if the trachea is compressed, cut off circulation to the brain and compress the carotid nerve bundle (causing a fatal heart condition)
- Use deadly force when they’re trying to arrest a suspect for a minor or non-violent offense, like shoplifting or passing a phony $20
- Use deadly force unless there is proof of “imminent danger” that the suspect will hurt someone unless they are stopped
- Shoot someone who is suspected of a felony while they are trying to run away (unless the suspect is about to use a weapon)
The only way that real social change will take place in police forces around the country is by holding police officers accountable for what they’ve done. If you or your loved one has been the victim of excessive use of force by an officer, it’s time to explore your legal options.