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Rep. Leslie Herod, D-Denver, addresses the crowd on the Capitol steps following the signing of landmark police reform on June 19, 2020.

After being labeled “terrorist” by Weld County Sheriff Steve Reams earlier this week, Rep. Leslie Herod, D-Denver, said those comments are “grounds for his constituents to decide to choose another person for that job.”

It's inflammatory and dangerous, especially in this day and age. I believe that the group he was speaking with is also an extremely problematic audience that was clearly talking about taking justice into their own hands and that's a problem,” Herod said in an interview with Colorado Politics. “To call me a terrorist for fighting for my community and fighting for my country is wrong.” 

Reams’ comments, first reported by the Colorado Times Recorder, came Monday at a meeting of Keep Colorado Free & Open, a group that opposes public health orders issued to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.  

The comments came after an attendee said the federal Supreme Court’s Marbury v. Madison ruling gives Americans the right to ignore laws they feel are “repugnant” to the Constitution and instead abide by “natural law. In a video of the meeting posted on the group’s Facebook page, Reams responded by telling those in attendance to be willing to question authority and go to elected officials in order to “put them on record.” 

I guarantee you, Leslie Herod down at the state Capitol has made a name for herself. In my mind, she’s a terrorist, she’s a terrorist against the citizens of Colorado. Her record speaks volumes,” Reams said. 

“If there’s anybody that you should have a reason to get out of office, it’s Leslie Herod because she is absolutely running bills to strip law enforcement from your daily lives to prevent law enforcement from protecting you and she’s turning the state upside-down. She’s on record. How many others can we get on record and then who do we run against them? That’s the ultimate question.” 

A spokesman for the Weld County Sheriff’s office was not available for comment. 

Herod has previously championed a number of law enforcement reform bills, including a proposal signed into law last summer in the wake of George Floyd’s death that among other things mandated officers: 

  • Can no longer use chokeholds. 

  • Must wear body cameras when dealing with the public. 

  • Cannot use deadly force unless they feel their lives are in imminent danger. 

  • Can be sued individually for misconduct for up to $25,000, or for 5% of the judgment. 

  • Are required to intervene if they feel that another officer is using deadly force. 

 

Herod said the incident encapsulated “exactly why we ran law enforcement accountability measures.”  

“It's exactly why I fight for reform every single day: to make sure that people who have that badge and who are sworn to serve and protect actually do that work,” she said. “With what's happened here, it's clear that that is not a value [Reams] upholds.”

Reams’ comments drew swift condemnation from a number of Herod’s House Democratic colleagues – including Speaker Alec Garnett of Denver and Majority Leader Daneya Esgar of Pueblo -- as well as the creation of the #StandWithLeslie hashtag.

Sage Naumann, a spokesman for the Senate GOP caucus, noted in a tweet that Senate President Leroy Garcia, D-Pueblo, had previously referred tGOP lawmakers who refused to wear masks as “terrorists” and also highlighted that Herod used the term in reference to former President Donald Trump.

“[S]ince I'm sure somebody will ask, yes, Sheriff Reams was wrong to call Representative Herod a terrorist. I don't agree with her on much but she is the furthest from a terrorist. She's an elected official in a democratic republic. That rhetoric does nothing good,” Naumann tweeted.

Asked about her use of the term directed at Trump, Herod told Colorado Politics she stood by her previous comments.

“I think it's very different to make a statement like that versus to be a law enforcement officer talking to a group of anti-government folks who are asking to take the law into their own hands, to publicly name me and call me out as someone who is a terrorist,” she said.

“I think it's completely inaccurate, but I do think in this day and age with what just happened in Boulder, with what happened with the insurrection at the Capitol, we all need to be more careful with our words. 

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