Like last year, court rulings dominate CFOIC’s 2022 list of transparency highs and lows, with perhaps the most closely watched decision coming nearly three weeks after a shooter killed five people and wounded more than a dozen others at an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs on Nov. 19.
The public release of the amended autopsy report on the 2019 death of Elijah McClain ended a legal fight that didn’t need to happen, said Steve Zansberg, president of the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition.
COVID-19 touched nearly every aspect of our lives in 2020 so of course it affected government transparency and public access to courts in Colorado.
Incidents in Colorado and elsewhere show the limitations of HB 19-1119 as a tool of transparency, accountability and for building trust between law enforcement agencies and the communities they serve. More could be done to ensure the public knows when officers are accused of misconduct or of using excessive force, how those allegations are investigated and whether and how discipline is imposed.
The sweeping police accountability and transparency bill state lawmakers sent to Gov. Jared Polis will establish new statewide requirements for disclosing footage from body-worn cameras and dashboard cameras in Colorado, ensuring that recordings of alleged officer misconduct are made public in most circumstances.