I-940 "De-Escalate Washington" Info Sheet

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The initiative aims to improve public safety in the following ways:

  1. Modernizing the legal code: Initiative 940 would update the use of deadly force laws and remove the "malice" provision that provides near-immunity for all law enforcement personnel. By introducing objective and subjective measures by which a judge and jury can evaluate use of deadly force, Initiative 940 would enable the public to hold negligent officers accountable for their actions.
  2. Better equipping law enforcement officers: Initiative 940 recommends increasing training for violence de-escalation, mental health, and first aid to reduce the number of violent encounters between officers and impacted community members.
  3. Reducing loss of life: It comes down to saving the lives of neighbors and friends. Initiative 940 proposes that law enforcement officers provide first aid to injured persons after deploying their weapon.
  4. Building bridges: Reviving the broken trust between communities and the police requires transparency in all facets of the process. Initiative 940 would require truly independent investigations of use of force encounters that result in serious injury or death. True justice requires the impartial determination of facts that removes outside influences, addresses conflict of interests, and accounts for biases.
  5. Increasing transparency and public accountability: Tribal members are killed at higher rates than any other population, yet their community leaders are often excluded from investigations and left without answers. Initiative 940 proposes including tribal governments in the investigations when a tribal member is injured or killed.

(Copied from FUSE.com)

Additional Information:

  • So far, this year, 30 people have been killed by police in Washington.
  • According to an Amnesty International report in June of 2017, Washington’s legal standard for holding police accountable “stands alone” and is “the most egregious” amongst all 50 states.  
  • The law’s malice language creates a bar that is “almost impossible to get over and is difficult to explain to the public, Dan Satterberg, president of the prosecutors’ association, said in a recent interview.” (Seattle Times, 9.26.15)
  • The Washington State Joint Legislative Task Force on Use of Force in Community Policing (made up of advocates, prosecutors, lawmakers, and law enforcement groups) recommended removing the malice language from Washington law.  
  • Both candidates for Seattle sheriff support I-940.
  • The Black Law Enforcement Association supports I-940.
  • Polling shows 70% of Washington voters supporter I-940.