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Colorado House Passes Chokehold Ban And Other Police Reforms

Protesers placed a sign saying Black Lives Matter outside the Capitol as lawmakers debated the police reforms earlier this month.
Scott Franz/Capitol Coverage
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Protesers placed a sign saying Black Lives Matter outside the Capitol as lawmakers debated the police reforms earlier this month.

Colorado House Speaker KC Becker choked up Friday as she announced that a sweeping set of police reforms had passed with strong bipartisan support.

Then the sound of thunderous applause erupted in the House chamber as lawmakers advanced their response to several days of protests against police brutality.

"It shouldn't take viral videos of police brutality or massive protests all over the country to jolt us into action, but in any case, I'm glad we're here now," Becker said before the House voted 52-13 to advance Senate Bill 217. "Today we are honoring the memory of George Floyd and every other victim of police violence with action. We're channeling our sympathy, our empathy, our sadness and our rage into making lasting change."

The measure will mandate the use of body cameras, outlaw chokeholds and add new transparency requirements for law enforcement agencies, among other reforms.

Rep. Leslie Herod, D-Denver, said the bill will "rein in the use of deadly force."

"When the protests started, I felt my community crying," said Herod, who leads the black legislative caucus. "I was hurting too. How many times? How many kids? How many souls are gonna be lost before we step in and say, 'we have a duty to intervene; we have a duty to do something about it?'"

The bill is expected to head to Gov. Jared Polis after the Senate considers some amendments that were made in the House.

It passed the Senate earlier this week almost unanimously.

Copyright 2020 KUNC

Scott Franz is a government watchdog reporter and photographer from Steamboat Springs. He spent the last seven years covering politics and government for the Steamboat Pilot & Today, a daily newspaper in northwest Colorado. His reporting in Steamboat stopped a police station from being built in a city park, saved a historic barn from being destroyed and helped a small town pastor quickly find a kidney donor. His favorite workday in Steamboat was Tuesday, when he could spend many of his mornings skiing untracked powder and his evenings covering city council meetings. Scott received his journalism degree from the University of Colorado at Boulder. He is an outdoorsman who spends at least 20 nights a year in a tent. He spoke his first word, 'outside', as a toddler in Edmonds, Washington. Scott visits the Great Sand Dunes, his favorite Colorado backpacking destination, twice a year. Scott's reporting is part of Capitol Coverage, a collaborative public policy reporting project, providing news and analysis to communities across Colorado for more than a decade. Fifteen public radio stations participate in Capitol Coverage from throughout Colorado.
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