SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News)— UPDATE: Gov. Herbert announced he signed the bill into law on Thursday, June 25.
During Thursday’s special legislative session, the Utah Legislature passed a bill that would impact law enforcement across the state. The bill addresses officers’ use of chokeholds.
Sponsors proposed the Peace Officer Amendments bill in response to protesters calling to end police brutality after George Floyd’s death.
Earlier this week the law enforcement and criminal justice committee passed HB 5007 sponsored in the House by Rep. Sandra Hollins.
“We all agree that placing the knee on the neck is inhumane,” Democratic House of Representative Hollins said.
The bill bans knee-to-neck chokeholds similar to the one used in the Floyd’s death. It also prohibits the Utah police academy or any other local agency from teaching new officers how to use chokeholds or any other carotid restraint.
The bill also says the county attorney will investigate after an officer is found using such tactics. In extreme cases, the officer could be charged with a third-degree felony. There was concern over the ability to prove wrongdoing.
“To convict someone of a crime we have to prove there was a mental state as well it’s fundamental to our due process,” Republican Representative Coleman said.
The House passed the bill by a vote of 69 to 5. The Senate passed the bill unanimously and it’s now off to the governor’s desk for his signature.
To see the bill, visit: https://le.utah.gov/~2020S5/bills/static/HB5007.html