Colorado law enforcement could use deadly force only as a “last resort” under new bill
House Bill 1250 builds off of a historic police accountability measure passed by the Colorado legislature in 2020 after the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis
Colorado law enforcement officers could use deadly force only as a “last resort” and only after they have “exhausted all reasonable de-escalation tactics and techniques” under a bill introduced this week by Democratic state lawmakers.
House Bill 1250 would also require that officers use deadly force only “proportional to the threat” they or the public face, and never against someone who is only a threat to themselves.
It’s one of several bills, some that have yet to be introduced, around policing that lawmakers are expected to debate at the Capitol this year.
The legislation builds on a historic police accountability measure — Senate Bill 217 — passed by Colorado lawmakers in 2020 after George Floyd was killed in Minneapolis, allegedly by a police officer who is on trial this week. House Bill 1250 was introduced on Tuesday as Colorado is processing a shooting at King Soopers in Boulder that left 10 people dead, and just hours after a memorial service for Boulder police Officer Eric Talley, who was killed in the massacre.
The changes made in 2020 revised Colorado’s law enforcement use-of-force guidelines to require officers to face an “imminent threat” before they use deadly force. Previously, officers were allowed to use deadly force if they reasonably feared for their lives or the lives of their colleagues under what’s called the reasonable-officer standard.
The imminent-threat change was made to give officers’ subjective viewpoint less weight, but critics of House Bill 1250 say the move to a last-resort standard would be a return to a subjective system and potentially confuse law enforcement.
“It is a bit discretionary,” state Rep. Leslie Herod, a Denver Democrat who is championing the bill, said Wednesday when asked about the definition of last resort.
To read the rest of the Colorado Sun, click here.
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