Colorado Gov. Jared Polis signed a police reform bill into law on Friday that would end qualified immunity for officers and put a ban on several controversial police tactics, including chokeholds, according to The Hill.
The law comes after weeks of demonstrations in protest of the death of George Floyd, an unarmed 46-year-old African American man who died while in police custody in late May.
Colorado’s new law ends the police protection from civil lawsuits, which many believed gave officers too much immunity from the results of their actions while on the job.
“By facing the cold hard truth about the unequal treatment of Black Americans and communities of color, we can and we will create real change that will materially improve the lives of countless Americans of this generation and future generations,” Polis said on Friday before he signed the bill into law.
“… We can bend the moral arc of the universe toward justice.”
Officers are now liable for a fine of up to $25,000 in damages if it’s found that they violated someone’s civil rights, according to The Hill.
The law was created by state lawmakers with the help of the American Civil Liberties Union, which announced the signing of the bill on Twitter.
‼️BREAKING‼️: @GovofCO has signed #SB217 into law. Colorado becomes one of the first states in the country to END qualified immunity as part of this historic comprehensive police accountability bill. pic.twitter.com/ZHCKRpSaGL
— ACLU of Colorado (@ACLUofColorado) June 19, 2020
In addition to ending the immunity for officers, the bill also requires that by the year 2023, all state and local police will wear cameras while on the job and the footage will be made public. The bill also bans several practices, including chokeholds, the use of deadly force without immediate danger to the officer’s life, and shooting any suspect that is fleeing from the officer.
The legislation additionally requires that every time an officer stops a person under suspicion of a crime, they record the ethnicity and gender of that person. Police are also encouraged to report wrongdoing on the part of their fellow officers.
According to lawmakers, their bill was crafted as a result of the protests after the death of Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Officers in that case were found to have detained the seemingly cooperative Floyd in a manner that deprived him of his ability to breathe for over eight minutes.
The officer who was seen with his knee on Floyd’s neck in the now-viral video, Derek Chauvin, formerly of the Minneapolis police department, was suspended and later arrested four days after Floyd’s death, as The Inquisitr reported at the time.
Floyd’s death is credited with having sparked what is expected to be widespread police reform. Both state and federal officials have made moves to change police procedures to reduce the potential for continued police brutality, particularly against people of color.