Who We Are:
The Washington Coalition for Police Accountability (WCPA) centers families and communities impacted by police violence. Members include families who have lost loved ones to police use of deadly force, I-940 campaign leaders, civil rights organizations, Tribes, labor unions, the faith community, and activists committed to ending the violence present in police culture and practices.
What We Believe:
Police hold state-sanctioned power over life and death. They can de-escalate crises rather than escalate them. They can treat those they suspect of committing crimes with dignity, and stabilize dangerous situations safely and humanely. Every person’s life is sacred, and police must be held accountable for unnecessary violence.
More than two years have passed since I-940’s passage, yet unnecessary police injuries and killings of community members continue unabated. Stronger measures are required to motivate police officers and their employers to stop the violence.
Directly impacted families and community members must have a significant place at the table in addressing police accountability so that their lived experiences inform the development of policy.
Our 2021 Priorities:
- HB 1054 – Prohibitions on Unnecessarily Violent Police Tactics
This proposal bans chokeholds and neck restraints, prohibits no-knock warrants, prohibits police dogs off leash to address their use to terrorize and attack, prohibits use of military-style equipment, bans shooting at moving vehicles, restricts hot pursuit, bans tear gas, and requires law enforcement to have visible identification.
- HB 1310 – De-escalation, Reasonable Care in the Use of Force, and Use of Deadly Force Only as a Last Resort
I-940 mandated violence de-escalation training for every officer in the state, implemented in rules adopted by the Criminal Justice Training Commission. This creates a statutory requirement that officers must de-escalate when appropriate. It clarifies the duty of reasonable care officers owe the public. It clarifies and strengthens changes made by I-940 to the justifiable homicide defense for police officers by explaining that deadly force is justifiable only if it is necessary to protect the officer or another person from an imminent threat of serious physical harm, and was used only as a last resort after other options had been exhausted.
- HB 1202 – Peace Officer Accountability Act. Civil Liability and Monetary Damages for Breaching the Duties to De-escalate and Exercise Reasonable Care and for Violations of the State Constitution
When a police officer harms someone without facing consequences, there is no justice for victims of police violence, no incentive to change bad behavior, community trust is eroded, and it makes everyone less safe. Reforms are critically needed. This proposal establishes state law civil causes of action for money damages and prohibits officers and their employers from raising qualified immunity as a defense.
- HB 1267 – Independent Criminal Investigations
We support the work of the Gov. Task Force on Independent Investigations of Police Use of Force. Police should not investigate police. We need a statewide entity to conduct criminal investigations of police use of force and prosecutions by attorneys who are independent of the county prosecutors. We support transition to non-law enforcement professional criminal investigators within five years and creating a community led advisory board.
- SB 5051/HB 1082 – Police Oversight and Accountability (Decertification)
Strengthens licensing oversight at the CJTC with requirements for mandatory and permissive decertification for misconduct. Requires employer reporting. Makes the composition of the CJTC majority non-law enforcement.