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Colorado House Passes Chokehold Ban And Other Police Reforms

Scott Franz/Capitol Coverage
Protesers placed a sign saying Black Lives Matter outside the Capitol as lawmakers debated the police reforms earlier this month.

Colorado House Speaker KC Becker choked up Friday as she announced that a sweeping set of police reforms had passed with strong bipartisan support.

Then the sound of thunderous applause erupted in the House chamber as lawmakers advanced their response to several days of protests against police brutality.

"It shouldn't take viral videos of police brutality or massive protests all over the country to jolt us into action, but in any case, I'm glad we're here now," Becker said before the House voted 52-13 to advance Senate Bill 217. "Today we are honoring the memory of George Floyd and every other victim of police violence with action. We're channeling our sympathy, our empathy, our sadness and our rage into making lasting change."

The measure will mandate the use of body cameras, outlaw chokeholds and add new transparency requirements for law enforcement agencies, among other reforms.

Rep. Leslie Herod, D-Denver, said the bill will "rein in the use of deadly force."

"When the protests started, I felt my community crying," said Herod, who leads the black legislative caucus. "I was hurting too. How many times? How many kids? How many souls are gonna be lost before we step in and say, 'we have a duty to intervene; we have a duty to do something about it?'"

The bill is expected to head to Gov. Jared Polis after the Senate considers some amendments that were made in the House.

It passed the Senate earlier this week almost unanimously.

Scott Franz is an Investigative Reporter with KUNC.