SEIU Colorado Statement in Support of Law Enforcement Integrity and Accountability Act
DENVER, CO – Service Employees International Union Colorado State Council issued the following statement from President, Ron Ruggiero:
“As SEIU, we are Colorado’s janitors, healthcare, security, airport workers and state employees – black, brown, and white, from all walks of life – who fight to better our communities and workplaces through collective action. As service workers, we are the essential frontline workers our state depends on, now and always. Breonna Taylor was an EMT essential worker. George Floyd was a truck driver and security officer, an essential worker.
We are supporting the Law Enforcement Integrity and Accountability Act because our members and our larger community are affected by incidents of police brutality and we are committed to seeing it end. We believe this law brings more accountability to those police officers who abuse their authority that they are publicly entrusted with. As union members a core value of ours is solidarity and we must live that solidarity both at work and in our communities. Reforms like these are long overdue, and so we support them today.
Going a level deeper, we know that winning economic and racial justice go hand in hand–we cannot win one without the other. As we come together for justice, a handful of politicians throw out lies to divide us. They know that if we’re made to fear each other, we’ll look the other way while police officers meant to uphold the law harm our communities, and elected leaders meant to govern in our name, hand over millions to corporations to militarize local law enforcement and deny resources for the schools and healthcare we actually need.
As union members, we know what happens when there is a lack of accountability with a boss at work–this often leads to abuse of power. This bill provides a measured way to increase accountability for police officers in our state and will help begin the long process of ending the abuse and violation of human rights that some officers commit.
We are coming together across our union to say enough is enough, and to demand police accountability so that our communities are safe for every one of us. Police brutality has eroded public trust in those who are supposed to protect and serve our communities. By creating more transparency and accountability in policing we are protecting the safety of our Colorado communities and the officers sworn to protect them.”
What will this bill do to increase police accountability in Colorado?
- Requires body-worn cameras to be issued to law enforcement officers.
- Recordings of a person’s death or serious bodily injury will be released to the public within 7 days after an incident.
- Creates an annual, public Division of Criminal Justice report.
- The report includes the number of investigations each year, the nature of the injury, demographic information for the injured party, the departments being investigated, and the number and types of charges brought against police officers.
- A person may bring a civil action against an officer who infringes on their constitutional rights. Police may not use qualified immunity or good faith as defenses to the civil action.
- An officer cannot use deadly physical force against a fleeing felon.
- The P.O.S.T. board may revoke the certification of an officer who fails to complete training requirements and will keep a database of officers who are decertified.
- It will create an independent investigations unit to investigate law enforcement who may have contributed to a person’s death or serious bodily injury.
- If the report determines that the use of physical force meets the applicable criminal legal standard, the officer will be immediately suspended without pay.
- If an officer is convicted of inappropriate use or threatened use of physical force, the officer will immediately be terminated and have their certification permanently revoked. In drafting. The final language will be amended into the bill.