U.S. Rep. Jason Crow, a freshman Democrat from Aurora, is introducing a bill to improve policing standards and integrity, called the George Floyd Law Enforcement Trust and Integrity Act.
The bill is led by fellow Democrats: Reps. Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler of New York, Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Congressional Black Caucus Chair Karen Bass of California, with more than 80 co-sponsors.
The Police Integrity Transparency and Accountability Act would create a statewide program through the Colorado Attorney General’s office to independently investigate and review police and sheriffs departments that engage in “serious patterns and practices of excessive force, biased policing and other unconstitutional practices by law enforcement.”
Companion legislation, to be led by Sen. Ben Cardin of Maryland, is expected in the Senate.
We can’t bring George Floyd back, but we can honor his life by reforming our institutions that have created and perpetuated inequality,” Crow said in a statement Thursday evening. “We must raise our voices with the Black Lives Matter movement, but that is not enough. It’s past time to take concrete steps to address these issues. We need to build trust between our police departments and the communities they serve, and increase accountability and transparency. It’s time for things to change.”
Crow’s office said Thursday he has been working on the legislation since the death of Elijah McClain, an unarmed Aurora 23-year-old, who died of a heart attack after a struggle with three police officers, who were called on the report of a “sketchy” man on Billings Street near East Colfax Avenue on Aug. 24, 2019.
“I have a right to stop you because you’re being suspicious,” an officer tells McClain in body cam video posted to the Aurora Police Department’s Facebook page.
McClain said he was doing nothing wrong and said he was going home, as an officer tells him to stop tensing up before the struggle ensues.
“No, let me go,” he can be heard saying in the video. “I am an introvert. Please respect my boundaries.”
The officers — Jason Rosenblat, Randy Roedema and Nathan Woodyard — were not charged in the death, as Adams County District Attorney Dave Young declined to prosecute, saying the facts wouldn’t support a homicide charge.