Reports are showing that police violence in Washington state is at its lowest point in over five years. This data came shortly after Washington lawmakers passed comprehensive police reform measures during last year’s legislative session. According to the Mapping Police Violence Database, in 2021, Washington police shot and killed 14 people — which represents more than a 54% drop from the 35 people shot and killed by police in 2020, and the lowest number in five years. Unfortunately, Washington’s police violence prevention success is an outlier. Police violence is at an all time high nationally. Last year, police killed 1,134 people in the United States according to the Mapping Police Violence Database.
This session, Washington lawmakers are advancing legislation that would roll back this progress and the police reform measures passed last year by weakening the standards for when officers can use excessive force. Additionally, a bill was introduced that would build on last year’s progress by eliminating qualified immunity, but the bill stalled in committee and was tabled.
Research shows that police violence disproportionately impacts Black and Latino people across the country. In fact, in the last decade, Black people were nearly four times as likely to be killed by police than their white peers in Washington. Nationally, 95 percent of people killed by police are killed with guns, and 98% of killings by police between 2013-2020 did not result in an officer being charged. 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.
More information about police violence is available here. To speak with a volunteer leader in Washington about the importance of police reform legislation, please don’t hesitate to reach out.