Carotid holds would now be banned under Colorado’s police accountability bill, which is nearing passage |

Carotid holds would now be banned under Colorado’s police accountability bill, which is nearing passage

Thirteen amendments were passed on Wednesday night, including a requirement that prosecutors notify the public when they forward an investigation into a police-involved death to a grand jury

Jesse Paul / Colorado Sun
A police motorcycle blocks traffic so that protesters can march down Colfax avenue during a a Black Lives Matter demonstration in Denver, June 7, 2020.
Kevin Mohatt / Special to Colorado Sun

The wide-reaching Colorado police accountability bill nearing passage in the state legislature would ban officers from using controversial carotid pressure holds, which were central to the death last year of a 23-year-old man in Aurora after an encounter with law enforcement. 

The ban on the maneuver, in which officers apply pressure to both sides of someone’s neck, cutting off blood flow, was added to Senate Bill 217 in an amendment made just before midnight on Wednesday as the measure advanced at the Capitol. 

The Aurora and Lakewood police departments this week already announced they were outlawing the use of carotid pressure holds. Elijah McClain died in August after he was stopped by Aurora police officers, who used a carotid hold on him.

There were 13 total amendments made to the bill on Wednesday night, some of which add substantial new reporting and policy requirements for law enforcement agencies. The amendments would require:

  • Grand juries to issue a report when they decide not to indict an officer in a law enforcement-involved death
  • Prosecutors to notify the public if they are referring an investigation into a law enforcement-involved death to a grand jury
  • That families of those killed by law enforcement receive an advanced copy of any body camera footage of their loved one’s death before it is released to the public
  • Police to document and report every time officers unholster their weapons or fire them

To read the rest of the Colorado Sun article, click here.

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