COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- While the crowd of protestors in downtown Colorado Springs became smaller on Monday, a new group joined their efforts.
More than a dozen attorneys with the public defender's office and the Colorado Criminal Defense bar rallied with protestors outside the El Paso County Courthouse and City hall supporting their efforts for change and new legislation going through the state senate that would drastically change how law enforcement in the state operate.
One of the attorneys is Josh Tolini, he's the head of the Colorado Criminal Defense bar for El Paso County. He says the legislation called Senate Bill 217, also known as the police accountability bill, is the first real step in police reform.
“The bill is a very good starting point," Tolini says, "It’s going to bring uniform policies across the entire state.”
Some of the changes SB 217 would implement include police body camera footage being released within 14 days of an encounter, officers can no longer use chokeholds, a database that tracks police encounters with and more. But Tolini says the ost important measure is officers can be criminally prosecuted for misuse of force.
“Doing away with qualified immunity, that means officers really act with impunity and are protected civilly unless there is a case and point that they have done the exact same thing," Tolini says, "So it really precludes from them being held and the only place and the only place people can get justice is in the civil court.”
Despite some push back from State Republicans and well-known lawyers like District Attorney George Brauchler, Public defender Scott Gallagher says the bill should be passed as is, “I agree with it 100 percent, the whole thing should go through as it is currently written.” Adding if passed, it will actually help police officers.
“Police have very difficult jobs and ultimately we need to support police in doing right by them, I think this bill will help police do their jobs better,” Gallagher says.
The state senate will have a final vote on the bill Tuesday. If passed it will then go to the state house of representatives.