New Nevada Laws Banning Police Chokeholds and Removing Police Officer Protections.
On August 7, Governor Sisolak signed into law two bills aimed at continuing policing reform efforts in the state. One of them is a Senate bill (SB2), intended to amend another bill passed in February 2019 and that included protections for law enforcement officers undergoing investigations. The other one is an Assembly bill (AB3) banning chokeholds and establishing standards of conduct for police officers. Many see these as a response to the protests taking place across the United States following the killing of George Floyd.
What changes with SB2?
- SB2 requires law enforcement agencies to initiate an investigation in a reasonable amount of time;
- SB2 extends the statute of limitation to initiate investigations on law enforcement officers involved in misconduct from one year to five; and
- It also limits the officer’s attorney’s access to information about the investigation until such investigation is completed.
What does AB3 prohibit?
AB3 includes new restrictions and creates new obligations for police officers and law enforcement agencies. It:
- Restricts use of chokeholds, or “lateral vascular neck restraints.”
- Requires officers to intervene when in presence of a fellow officer using unjustified deadly force against, even when that officer may be their superior.
- Prohibits retaliation by police departments against agents who intervene in those scenarios.
- Requires officers to look for signs of distress and ensure medical attention is provided to individuals injured during an arrest.
- Allows recording of police activity by the public and prohibits police from seizing or destroying recorded images or videos.
- Mandates alcohol and drug tests on officers involved in situations where death or injury has occurred.
- Imposes an obligation on officers to use only “reasonable force necessary” to carry out an arrest. Prior text authorized officers to use “all necessary means.”
While the texts of these two pieces of legislation show some progress towards placing restrictions on the police’s excessive use of force and removing protections to police officers who have allegedly committed acts of excessive force, neither has gone without opposition.
On one hand, AB3 has been opposed by legislators who argue that the bill has not been properly thought through while others state that it constitutes an appropriate emergency response to the events occurred earlier this year throughout the country and in Nevada. On the other hand, SB2 has been opposed by police unions who allege that the 2019 bill safeguards the rights of accused officers, and that under said legislation, officers were already held accountable for their actions. It has also been opposed by progressive activists that believe that the revisions do not do enough to remove excessive protections to officers.
Contact Us Today for Help
If you have any questions on how these new laws may affect your claim of use of excessive force, contact the skilled Las Vegas criminal defense lawyers at Lobo Law today for help.