Colorado’s sweeping police accountability bill now requires officers to face imminent threat before using deadly force
Colorado Democrats’ sweeping police accountability bill won preliminary approval Monday in the state Senate after undergoing a number of changes, including the addition of a prohibition on the use of deadly force by officers unless they face an imminent threat.
Currently, officers may use deadly force if they reasonably fear for their lives or the lives of their colleagues — called the reasonable officer standard — and not necessarily if they are facing an imminent threat.
The imminent threat amendment brought by state Sen. Mike Foote, a Lafayette Democrat, aims to give officers’ subjective viewpoint less weight in the determination around whether deadly force was legally used. Instead, investigators will determine whether there was an imminent threat in what Foote hopes will be more objective.
“One of the main impediments to lowering the use of force and lowering the excessive use of force has been the reasonable officer standard,” said Foote, a former prosecutor. “There will be a more legitimate possibility of prosecuting use of force cases under (this change).”
The change was endorsed by Sen. Bob Gardner, a Colorado Springs Republican, who has been anxious about the breadth of the measure, Senate Bill 217.
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