The Washington state legislature passed two measures last night which will help hold police accountable when they use lethal force, and will require additional training for police officers to help avoid potentially deadly confrontations.
I-940 was passed along with ESBH 3003 to remove de facto immunity from Washington State’s use of force statute and adopt a reasonable officer standard. The bills also require independent investigations to be conducted into each instance of use of deadly force, as well as violence de-escalation, mental health and first aid training for all officers. These measures were achieved through the De-Escalate Washington coalition, of which Amnesty International USA was a part, in collaboration with local law enforcement unions.
“This is an important step toward protecting communities of color from unlawful killings and brutality by police. Far too often there is little to no accountability when someone’s loved one is killed by the very people who are supposed to protect them,” said Kristina Roth, senior program officer for criminal justice programs at Amnesty International USA. “Shamefully, not a single state in the U.S. has laws that meet the international standard for the limited occasions when police can use lethal force. This law will help make progress by requiring independent investigations into tragic incidents, and provide officers with the training they need to prevent these events from occurring in the first place.”