police | KUNC


Ashanti Floyd / Facebook

Protests are unfolding across the country over the death of Elijah McClain at the hands of police in Aurora, Colo. Now, frustration is also building over local law enforcement’s use of force this past weekend at a vigil in Aurora honoring him — frustration that was visible at a city council meeting Tuesday night dedicated to the response. 

Minneapolis police officer with a light blue shirt wears a body camera.
Tony Webster / CC BY-SA 2.0

Body-worn cameras have long been a staple of police reform efforts. Activists, civil rights groups, politicians and law enforcement value the accountability boost they provide. The cameras have a wide range of uses and some rather unclear impacts on police-community interactions.

Leigh Paterson / KUNC

Police body camera video that shows the shooting of De'Von Bailey tells two stories. To a grand jury, it exonerated the actions of Colorado Springs police officers last summer. To Rep. Leslie Herod, a Democrat pivotal to the crafting of Colorado's expansive new police accountability law, it shows what the police did wrong.

Thousands of demonstrators gathered outside an Aurora police building Saturday to call for justice in the death of Elijah McClain, a 23-year-old Black man put into a chokehold by police last year.

McClain's death last August has prompted a handful of small protests over the last 10 months, but his case has garnered renewed attention amid a global outcry sparked when George Floyd died under the knee of a Minneapolis police officer May 25.

Scott Franz/Capitol Coverage

On Juneteenth, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis signed the “Enhance Law Enforcement Integrity” bill into law.  The bill was introduced in response to protests over the death of George Floyd and police brutality.

Denise Maes, public policy director for the ACLU of Colorado, joined KUNC’s Colorado Edition to explain what’s included in the legislation.  

Poudre School Disctrict

Poudre School District will still have police officers in its schools next school year.

The Poudre School District Board of Education voted 6-1 on Tuesday to renew its school resource officer (SRO) contracts with Fort Collins Police Services, the Larimer County Sheriff's Department and the Timnath Police.

Updated at 12:58 p.m. ET

Senate Democrats, emboldened by a national outcry for reform of the country's law enforcement departments, blocked debate Wednesday on a Republican police reform bill that they said did not go far enough to address racial inequality.

Madeline Noblett / Poudre School District

Poudre School District will vote on whether or not to renew its contract with local police departments on Tuesday. This comes as Denver Public Schools recently ended their contract with the Denver Police Department.

Colorado Edition co-host Henry Zimmerman spoke to KUNC's Stephanie Daniel about the debate over police presence in schools ahead of the vote.

In the wake of George Floyd's death, a flashpoint in the debates over police reform has been the push to ban chokeholds nationwide. Advocates believe that enshrining a ban into law will deter police violence.

And it's gaining traction. Congressional Democrats have proposed a legislative package that calls for a ban on all neck restraints. President Trump, though he stopped short of full support of a ban, said late last week that police should avoid using chokeholds. And the state of New York passed a law banning the tactic.

Amid the tumult over police brutality allegations across the country, the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday refused to reexamine the much-criticized, modern-day legal doctrine created by judges that has shielded police and other government officials from lawsuits over their conduct.

In an unsigned order, the court declined to hear cases seeking reexamination of the doctrine of "qualified immunity." Justice Clarence Thomas dissented, saying the "qualified immunity doctrine appears to stray from the statutory text."

It takes the votes of four justices to grant review of a case.