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What to know about the Police Reform legislation going into effect on Sunday.

July 22, 2021

This legislative session, Washington lawmakers passed five police reform bills to help ensure transparency within police departments and prevent police violence. The bills will go into effect on Sunday. Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action volunteers fought to pass police reform legislation, following the lead of families impacted by police violence and organizations like the Washington Coalition for Police Accountability. In fact, alongside partners, Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action volunteers and supporters took 3,742 digital actions, including 3,086 emails and 674 calls, this session to support gun safety legislation. 

More information on the police reform bills:

  • HB 1054, prohibits the use of chokeholds by law enforcement officers, no-knock warrants, and restricts the police acquisition of military equipment from the federal government.
  • HB 1089, authorizes the state auditor to make sure use-of-force investigations comply with the law.
  • HB 1267, creates an Office of Independent Investigations within the Office of the Governor who is charged with investigating police use of force incidents. The bill also establishes a new independent process that includes civilians in investigations into police conduct and will help promote accountability and ensure that investigations are complete and free from bias.
  • SB 5051, gives the Washington Criminal Justice Training Commission additional powers and oversight authority. The bill also improves rules for officer certification, makes improvements that will ensure transparency, and ensures that law enforcement officers with a history of misconduct cannot avoid accountability by moving to other law enforcement jobs.
  • SB 5259, 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.

More information on police violence

  • Between 2013 and 2021, Washington state police killed 260 people.
  • Research shows that police violence disproportionately impacts Black and Latino people across the country. In fact, in the last decade, Black people were 4.5 times and Latino people were nearly 1.5 times as likely to be killed by police in Washington than white peers. 
  • Nationally, 95 percent of people killed by police are killed with guns, and almost no officer involved in fatal shootings is charged with a crime.
  • Every year, police in the U.S. shoot and kill more than 1,000 people. On an average day, police shoot and kill three people. 

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.

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