A proposed bill in the Colorado legislature could prevent many records of police misconduct from ever being publicized. According to The Denver Post, the bill would make disciplinary hearings and possibly video evidence closed to the public, something that’s not resting easy with many.
If the bill was already law, we might not have heard about the two Denver police officers accused of beating a man in downtown Denver, according to Steve Zansberg with the Colorado Press Association. “We wouldn’t have known what came out in their (disciplinary) hearing. It would have all been closed, and all the records used in that hearing would be closed.”
The intention of the bill, says lawmaker Representative Mark Barker (R-Colorado Springs), is to ensure officers in smaller jurisdictions are afforded the same due process rights as those in larger jurisdictions, in reference to their disciplinary hearings. He says, “Any document generated or presented in connection with the hearing shall be treated as a personnel record and is subject to the legal protections afforded to personnel records.”Watch Full Movie Online Streaming Online and Download
The problem with this is the phrase “any document generated or presented.” The vague and broad nature of this phrase would lead one to believe that it includes any video proof of wrongdoing or other records. Barker, however, insists this wasn’t the intention.
Perhaps not surprisingly, the Fraternal Order of Police proposed the language.
When it comes to the discipline of police accused of wrongdoing, the public has a right to know what’s going on and how things are being handled. Transparency fosters accountability. When there is no transparency, there is a definite level of mistrust between the public and the department.
Lawmaker Jim Kerr (R-Littleton), sponsor of HB 1036, says he is willing to listen to potential compromise on the language of the bill.
As written, anything related to a disciplinary hearing could be withheld. Even autopsy reports from the coroner’s office could be held back. Though the law seems to only apply to disciplinary hearings and civil cases, the language is too broad as written.
As a member of a community, you want to be able to trust the police within that community. But, when a cop treats you poorly or violates your rights, it’s a little hard to feel confident that you even have rights worthy of being respected.
When you are accused of a criminal offense, a defense lawyer is there to help advocate for your rights and be your voice in a system that can seem out to get you. If you’re facing drug charges or assault charges and have no one to trust, contact our offices today to discuss your case.