Colorado’s 2015 law changing how officer-involved shootings are investigated still lets law enforcement police themselves

The Colorado Sun: Five years ago, Colorado lawmakers passed a bill that banned police departments and sheriff’s officers from investigating themselves without any outside assistance after one of their officers or deputies shoots someone. 

But here’s the hitch: the legislation, Senate Bill 219, specifically states “shooting,” meaning it doesn’t apply if someone dies at the hands of law enforcement because of a chokehold or any other death not involving a firearm.

So when Elijah McClain died last year after an encounter with officers from the Aurora Police Department, the Aurora Police Department technically didn’t have to ask for help — even though it did. 

“The focus at that time was expressly officer-involved shootings,” said Tom Raynes, head of the Colorado District Attorneys’ Council, who worked on the measure.

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