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 help 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, Washington during a traffic stop.
The bills need to be concurred in their original chamber then will move to Governor Jay Inslee’s desk where they will wait to be signed with SB 5038, a bill to prohibit the open carry of firearms on Capitol grounds and at permitted protests.
“For years, Washington state has been a leader in the gun violence prevention movement,” said Ashlee McDonald, a volunteer leader with the Washington chapter of Moms Demand Action. “And, this session is no different. We’re grateful to the legislature for prioritizing police violence and continuing to fight for gun safety.”
“Unfortunately, our state is no stranger to police violence,” said Talia LeVine, a volunteer leader with Students Demand Action in Washington. “Although the root causes of police violence cannot only be solved by legislation, we are proud to stand with our partners, like the Washington Coalition of Police Accountability, and celebrate this important step.”
More Information About the Bills:
- HB 1054, which 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, 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 process that includes civilians for investigations into police conduct 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 nearly 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.