State Rep. Leslie Herod will push law enforcement radio encryption bill

Westword (Denver): On the night that a Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee into George Floyd’s neck for over eight minutes, a police spokesperson told reporters that Floyd had died after a “medical incident.” It only took one cell-phone video to reveal that the spokesperson’s statement was the euphemism of all euphemisms, as evidenced by the fact that the police officer is now facing a second-degree murder charge for his role in the “incident.”

But while videos quickly debunked the official version of Floyd’s death, there often isn’t independent information to counter a law enforcement account of what happened during a use-of-force incident.

In Colorado, that issue is compounded by the fact that often there isn’t even a contemporaneous law enforcement account; increasingly, police agencies are going dark on their radios. Law enforcement agencies say that having an open and accessible radio frequency both endangers the lives of officers and exposes sensitive information about victims; as a result, the police departments of both Aurora and Denver encrypt their radios.

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