SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham signed legislation on Wednesday, July 7 that requires New Mexico police officers to wear body cameras in an effort to prevent unlawful use of force and to improve accountability measures in cases of inappropriate excessive force. This camera requirement applies to city police, county sheriff’s agencies, state police, and the Department of Public Safety.
The body camera footage must be maintained by the law enforcement agencies for at least 120 days. A press release from the governor’s office states that police who interfere with the devices or disregard the camera requirement could face penalties for withholding evidence.
Senate Bill 8 also puts in place that the Law Enforcement Academy Board will now permanently revoke the certification of any police officer who is found guilty, pleads guilty, or pleads no contest to a crime that involves the unlawful use or threatened use of force in the line of duty or if they fail to intervene in a police action that involves unlawful use of force. This measure was sponsored by Senator Joseph Cervantes and passed the Senate 31-11 and the House 44-26 in the special session.
The legislation comes after the May 25 murder of George Floyd, who died pleading he couldn’t breathe after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for eight minutes and 46-seconds. Senate Bill 8 pairs with another bill that was signed by Gov. Lujan Grisham that establishes a state Civil Rights Commission that will provide recommendations to the Legislature about other public safety reform and qualified immunity.
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