DENVER (CBS4) – It’s been nearly a year since more rules around police accountability became law in Colorado. On Monday, many people pointed to the law as a reason an officer in Greeley was issued a summons for felony assault.
“This does show that the bill worked. I’m proud of the law enforcement officers that stepped up and reported wrongdoing,” state Rep. Leslie Herod said.
Greeley police say an arrest in early June was reported by two other officers for potential use of excessive force. An investigation then brought charges against Officer Ken Amick.
“I think those officers who want to do the right thing, made the right call, which is what they should have done,” said Kevin Smith, a Criminal justice Professor at Metropolitan State University of Denver.
Amick is accused of using a chokehold and kneeing Matthew Wilson during the arrest. Wilson told CBS4’s Rick Sallinger on Tuesday he remembers going unconscious. He also said he wished the other responding officers would have intervened earlier.
The use of chokeholds was banned by the legislation last summer, but Smith says it was something many departments had already created policies to stop its use.
“A lot of departments, rightfully so, are going through a transformation and reformation with their strategy and their mentality and their philosophy,” Smith said. “I think a lot of departments, more commonly now, are placing use of force training, cultural diversity training, de-escalation technique training in their training curriculum. To make the officers better prepared to deal with situations that could be out of control within a matter of seconds upon arrival on scene.”
Herod believes a recent case in Loveland where a former officer was charged for not reporting excessive force could have played a role in the Greeley officers speaking up this month.
“That is something to be commended and that’s something we should want in all officers to step in and intervene when they can and report wrongdoing happening if they couldn’t intervene,” she said.