May 18, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Washington governor signs sweeping police accountability legislation

Photo of Jay Inslee speaking behind a podium with his hands folded in front of him

Gov. Jay Inslee. Photo: Karen Ducey via Getty Images

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) on Tuesday signed a dozen bills aimed at curbing police misconduct and boosting accountability.

Why it matters: The move comes as the United States continues to grapple with police brutality and racial justice. It's "one of the nation's most ambitious packages" of its kind, AP writes.

The bills:

  • Ban police use of chokeholds, neck restraints and no-knock warrants.
  • Require officers to intervene if a colleague engages in excessive force.
  • Create an independent office to review police use of deadly force.
  • Require officers to use "reasonable care," such as de-escalation tactics.
  • Make it easier to sue officers when they cause injury.

What he's saying: "The crises of the past year have unmasked long-standing inequities in our society. The consciousness of our state and nation has been raised against inequity in many forms," Inslee said in a statement.

  • "Our moral mandate to acknowledge these hard truths crystallized in the fallout from the killing of George Floyd in Minnesota, and the killing of Manny Ellis in Tacoma," he added.
  • "The bills I am signing today respect these truths and lay a solid foundation to halt inequity’s pernicious influence in our systems of government."

The big picture: The move comes as a North Carolina prosecutor claimed the police killing of Andrew Brown Jr. was "justified," though lawyers for Brown's family have demanded the release of full bodycam footage and the State Bureau of Investigation's report.

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