REPORT: Denver Suburb Shields Officers From Aspects Of Police Reform Law

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Nicholas Elias Contributor
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Greenwood Village, Colorado unanimously passed legislation Wednesday to counter financial liability for officer misconduct created in the new state police reform law, per The Denver Post.

The legislation reportedly subverts the section of Colorado State Bill SB 217 that requires police officers to pay for part of their legal judgement if they are found guilty of police misconduct. The order is based on whether the police department deems that the misconduct was done in “good faith.” (RELATED: Security Guard Charged With Murder For Allegedly Shooting Customer Who Wasn’t Wearing A Mask)

“The intent of Council’s resolution was simply to inform its officers that as their employer, they would not make such a (bad-faith) finding no matter what,” Tonya Haas Davidson, Greenwood Village city attorney, said to The Denver Post. “Nowhere in the law is an employer ever required to make a finding of bad faith.”

SB 217 states that if an officer is deemed to have acted in “bad faith” that they will be subjected to paying 5% or $25,000 dollars in personal funds for the civil settlement, instead of the city picking up the bill. “They’re prejudging all the cases out there in the future,” Sen. Bob Gardner of Colorado Springs said to The Denver Post.

Greenwood City Village Manager John Jackson told The Denver Post that an 18-year veteran of the police department left the force due to bill SB 217. “There’s a lot of fear around this with officers doing their jobs right, and they fear what could happen,” said Jackson to The Denver Post. Jackson has reportedly been serving as the Greenwood City police chief for seven years.

Mari Newman, an attorney representing Elijah McClain, a black man killed by police last year, said that the section of the bill was included so that “officers have some skin in the game,” per The Denver Post. 

“If they violate a policy, they are subject to disciplinary action like any other employee,” Greenwood Village Mayor George Lantz said to The Denver Post, “We wanted them to know we aren’t going to also subject them to personal liability on top of everything else they may face.”