Open Letter to Westminster City Council Re: Statement on SB 20-217

This letter was emailed to all members of the Westminster, Colorado City Council on 7/10/2020.

 

Dear City Council:

I am a twenty year resident of Westminster and am generally very proud of this city. However, I must express my extreme disappoint in the statement that the city council put out regarding SB 20-217, found here: https://www.cityofwestminster.us/News/city-council-supports-police-department-after-passage-of-senate-bill-20-217
Particularly with this:
“Please know, the City intends to defend and indemnify its police officers for any liability incurred by them including any judgment or settlement entered against them for claims brought pursuant to C.R.S. 13-21-131 (1), unless the police officer/s are convicted of a criminal violation for the conduct from which the claim arises or otherwise precluded by law.”
I am in complete agreement with both Governor Polis and Attorney General Weiser, who expressed their disappointment with local governments trying to edge around the new civil liability measures of SB 20-217. I am, frankly, appalled that Westminster is trying to get around a law that has been a long time in coming and is in fact the smallest possible step toward addressing deeper, long-running issues of racist police violence in our state. I have long wanted to believe in Westminster’s Police Department as “one of the good ones”–but if that’s to be the case, this edging around the law of the state becomes even less acceptable.
It’s also, I will note, incredibly financially irresponsible on the part of the city to shield potential bad actors from civil liability counter to state law. I am generally very live and let live about tax revenue; it gets spent on things I don’t agree with all the time, and that’s the price of living in a democracy. A commitment that runs counter to the law of the state, which was enacted by our democratically elected government, however? That, I have a most profound problem with.
I strongly urge you to rethink this stance.
Alex Acks

 

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