The Washington chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety, released the following statement after the Washington House and Senate passed HB 1054, HB 1089, HB 1267, SB 5051 and SB 5259, legislation which would help ensure transparency within police departments and prevent police violence. The effort comes shortly after Jenoah Donald, a 30-year-old Black man, was shot and wounded by police in Hazel Dell, WA during a traffic stop.
“Police violence is gun violence, full stop,” said Kim Monroe, a volunteer leader with the Washington chapter of Moms Demand Action. “These bills are an important step towards increasing transparency and accountability within our police departments, combatting structural racism within our institutions, and ultimately, saving lives.”
“We’re glad that our lawmakers are taking action to address the scourge of police violence, largely targeted at Black people in Washington,” said Julia Cappio, a volunteer leader with Students Demand Action in Washington. “By promoting transparency, accountability, and best practices within police departments, we can help address the systemic inequities which continue to endanger Black lives.”
More Information About the Bills:
- HB 1054, which prohibits the use of chokeholds by law enforcement officers, no-knock warrants, and police acquisition of military equipment from the federal government.
- HB 1089, which authorizes the state auditor to make sure use-of-force investigations comply with the law.
- HB 1267, which creates an Office of Independent Investigations in the Office of the Governor who is charged with investigating police use of force incidents. The bill also establishes a new independent civilian process for investigations and will help promote accountability and ensure that investigations are complete and free from bias.
- SB 5051, which gives the Washington Criminal Justice Training Commission additional powers and oversight authority. The bill also improves rules for officer certification and makes improvements that will ensure transparency and that law enforcement officers with a history of misconduct cannot avoid accountability by moving to other law enforcement jobs.
- SB 5259, which requires data collection and analysis on police use of force incidents in Washington. Currently, the existing data on police use of force is insufficient and makes it difficult for researchers to analyze excessive force and for policymakers to effectively evaluate the need for change.
Law enforcement agencies must adopt meaningful use of force policies, which encourage
de-escalation, utilize early intervention systems, and ensure that officers who act in a manner that is criminally negligent can be held accountable. Research suggests that implementing specific use-of-force policies can save lives. One 2016 study of 91 large police departments found adoption of use-of-force reform policies—exhaustion of other means prior to shooting, bans on chokeholds and strangleholds, use-of-force continuum, de-escalation, duty to intervene, restrictions on shootings at moving vehicles, and warning before shooting—was associated with fewer people killed by police.
Black Americans are shot and killed by police at three times the rate of white Americans, and data from Mapping Police Violence shows that most people killed by police are killed with guns. Between 2013-2020, 253 people were killed by police in Washington — and Black people were more than four times as likely to be killed by police as white people during that time.
More information about police violence is available here. Additional information on gun violence in Washington is available here, and Everytown’s Gun Law Navigator — which shows how Washington’s gun laws compare to those of other states — is available here.
To speak with a policy expert or Washington Moms Demand Action and/or Students Demand Action volunteers, please do not hesitate to reach out.