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US Washington governor signs sweeping police reform measures

02:10  19 may  2021
02:10  19 may  2021 Source:   msn.com

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SEATTLE — Washington Gov. Jay Inslee on Tuesday signed one of the nation’s most ambitious packages of police accountability legislation, prompted by last year’s outcry for racial justice following the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and other Black people at the hands of police . A coalition of Washington state law enforcement unions, representing more than 14,000 officers, said it could accept some measures , including the arbitration reform and duty-to-intervene bills. But it expressed concern that the decertification bill threatened the due-process rights of officers.

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser signed sweeping police reform legislation Wednesday, making it official. The D.C. Council unanimously approved the emergency The legislation enacts changes for 90 days and is subject to extension. "There is no need for this type of sweeping reform to be completed in such a hasty and unthoughtful manner," the police union said in a statement in June. "The Councilmembers are seizing on the public sentiment to impose these changes that will significantly handicap the department for years to come."

SEATTLE (AP) — Washington Gov. Jay Inslee on Tuesday signed one of the nation’s most ambitious packages of police accountability legislation, prompted by last year’s outcry for racial justice following the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and other Black people at the hands of police.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee thanks state Rep. Jesse Johnson after signing legislation Johnson sponsored - one of 12 bills about police accountability and reform signed by the governor - during a ceremony at the Eastside Community Center in Tacoma, Wash., on Tuesday, May 18, 2021. (Tony Overman/The News Tribune via AP) © Provided by Associated Press Washington Gov. Jay Inslee thanks state Rep. Jesse Johnson after signing legislation Johnson sponsored - one of 12 bills about police accountability and reform signed by the governor - during a ceremony at the Eastside Community Center in Tacoma, Wash., on Tuesday, May 18, 2021. (Tony Overman/The News Tribune via AP) Washington Gov. Jay Inslee offers a pen to Rep. Jesse Johnson as fellow House reps (from left) Jamila Taylor, My-Linh Thai and Debra Entenman applaud as the the governor signs 12 bills about police accountability during ceremonies at the Eastside Community Center in Tacoma, Wash., on Tuesday, May 18, 2021. (Tony Overman/The News Tribune via AP) © Provided by Associated Press Washington Gov. Jay Inslee offers a pen to Rep. Jesse Johnson as fellow House reps (from left) Jamila Taylor, My-Linh Thai and Debra Entenman applaud as the the governor signs 12 bills about police accountability during ceremonies at the Eastside Community Center in Tacoma, Wash., on Tuesday, May 18, 2021. (Tony Overman/The News Tribune via AP)

The dozen bills Inslee signed include outright bans on police use of chokeholds, neck restraints and no-knock warrants such as the one that helped lead to Taylor's killing in Louisville, Kentucky.

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The governor of Minnesota endorsed a package of sweeping changes to policing on Thursday after the death of George Floyd while in police custody in Minneapolis on Memorial Day spurred an uprising against racism and inequality in the state’s largest city and across the country. These reforms have been implemented in other places, and the data shows they work.” Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz (D) asked the state legislature to adopt a package of sweeping police changes during a news conference on June 11.

The order comes as Congress pursues police reform legislation in the wake of George Floyd's death in police custody. With protesters around the country pressing their fight against police brutality and racism, President Donald Trump on Tuesday signed an executive order aimed at tracking misconduct by law enforcers and creating incentives for departments to improve their practices. The president, during a speech in the White House Rose Garden that heaped praise on the police and took time to attack his political opponents, said that "law and order must be further restored nationwide, and your

They require officers to intervene if their colleagues engage in excessive force — a demand inspired by the officers who stood by while Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin pressed a knee to Floyd's neck for more than nine minutes.

The bills also create an independent office to review the use of deadly force by police, make it easier to decertify police for bad acts, and require officers to use “reasonable care,” including exhausting de-escalation tactics, in carrying out their duties. The use of tear gas and car chases are restricted and it's easier to sue officers when they inflict injury.

“As of noon today, we will have the best, most comprehensive, most transparent, most effective police accountability laws in the United States,” Inslee, a Democrat, said before signing the bills.

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Andrew Cuomo on Friday signed what he called the "most aggressive" police reform legislative package in the nation in a move that makes officers more accountable and criminalizes chokeholds and other controversial restraints. The bills -- vehemently opposed by a coalition of law enforcement unions -- ffollows weeks of protests A key measure signed on Friday involves shattering the veil of secrecy that a 1976 law provided police personnel and disciplinary records. "Today is about enough is enough," he said. The governor was joined by the mothers of two victims of police violence, activist the Rev.

Floyd's killing last May and the protests that followed prompted a wave of police reforms in dozens of states, from changes in use-of-force policies to greater accountability for officers. But few if any matched the scope of the changes being adopted in Washington.

Inslee convened a task force last year to suggest ways to guarantee independent investigations of police use of deadly force. The move followed community outrage over the death of Manuel Ellis as he was being restrained by Tacoma police and repeatedly saying he couldn't breathe. The Pierce County Sheriff’s Office conducted a botched review of the case without disclosing that one of its deputies had been involved.

With Washington state legislators who wrote the police accountability legislation watch as Washington Gov. Jay Inslee signs their 12 bills during ceremonies at the Eastside Community Center in Tacoma, Wash., on Tuesday, May 18, 2021. (Tony Overman/The News Tribune via AP) © Provided by Associated Press With Washington state legislators who wrote the police accountability legislation watch as Washington Gov. Jay Inslee signs their 12 bills during ceremonies at the Eastside Community Center in Tacoma, Wash., on Tuesday, May 18, 2021. (Tony Overman/The News Tribune via AP)

Prompted partly by Ellis' death, Inslee signed the bills at a community center in Tacoma.

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How INTERESTING that some police officers, while observing a lawfully elected representative (and fellow police union member) do his job feel entitled to threaten him as though that were the appropriate channel through which they should contest the reform bill. It’s almost as though intimidation is a frequently used tool to get their way. I think Connecticut is gonna legalize weed and sports betting soon. Weed was likely to be legalized this year, as the governor was pushing for it. But covid put that on the back burner.

Under legislation recommended by the task force, the state will have an independent office that will hire regional teams to review such cases. There are restrictions on hiring police or former police officers as investigators, and eventually the investigations will be conducted by civilians with other areas of expertise — such as behavioral health.

The measures were driven by Democrats, who control both houses in Olympia, and several of the key lawmakers pushing the bills were people of color. They worked closely with families of people killed by police, community activists and police groups themselves in developing some of the other bills, said Rep. Jesse Johnson of Federal Way, who is Black.

“This process was deeply collaborative, deeply visionary and deeply intentional about lifting up every voice, from community to law enforcement,” he said.

Some of the bills, including one signed earlier by Inslee that reforms the private arbitration system by which officers can appeal discipline, had bipartisan backing.

A coalition of Washington state law enforcement unions, representing more than 14,000 officers, said it could accept some measures, including the arbitration reform and duty-to-intervene bills. But it expressed concern that the decertification bill threatened the due-process rights of officers. The Washington Council of Police and Sheriffs, which represents 60% of the state's fully commissioned law enforcement officers, opposed the bill restricting police tactics and the measure requiring “reasonable care" in using force.

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Parents Fred Thomas and Annalesa Thomas (second from right) - whose son, Leonard Thomas, was killed by Lakewood, Washington police in 2013 - are greeted by Nickeia Hunter and Monisha Harrelle (far right), chair of Equal Rights Washington, before ceremonies by Washington Gov. Jay Inslee to sign 12 bills about police accountability at the Eastside Community Center in Tacoma, Wash., on Tuesday, May 18, 2021. Nickeia Hunter is the sister of Carlos Hunter, who was killed by Vancouver, Wash., police in 2019. (Tony Overman/The News Tribune via AP) © Provided by Associated Press Parents Fred Thomas and Annalesa Thomas (second from right) - whose son, Leonard Thomas, was killed by Lakewood, Washington police in 2013 - are greeted by Nickeia Hunter and Monisha Harrelle (far right), chair of Equal Rights Washington, before ceremonies by Washington Gov. Jay Inslee to sign 12 bills about police accountability at the Eastside Community Center in Tacoma, Wash., on Tuesday, May 18, 2021. Nickeia Hunter is the sister of Carlos Hunter, who was killed by Vancouver, Wash., police in 2019. (Tony Overman/The News Tribune via AP)

Teresa Taylor, the council's executive director, said Tuesday she had concerns about the “tenor of the narrative” around the legislation but that her organization would work to help implement the laws.

“These bills will introduce some changes, but we fully expect our officers will continue to be the professional experts they have always been," Taylor said.

Sen. Jamie Pedersen, the Seattle Democrat who heads the Senate Law and Justice Committee and who sponsored the decertification bill, apologized to community members at the bill signing for taking so long to embrace the cause of police accountability. He likened himself and other white people in power to the officers who stood by as Floyd died.

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“Where I find myself is feeling a lot of guilt and shame that for so many years as you have spoken out ... too many of us, myself included, stood by and did nothing and tolerated a system infused with racism, because it was comfortable and easy,” Pedersen said.

The Washington Black Lives Matter Alliance called the signing of the bills “a potential sea change in how police in Washington interact with people in communities they’re hired to serve — especially Black people, Indigenous people, and people of color.” But, the organization said, it's up to police, prosecutors, judges, officials and citizens to see that the laws are enforced.

“It's a monumental occasion, but it's also a sad one for most of us families who are still grieving, still looking for answers and justice for our loved ones,” said Katrina Johnson, whose cousin Charleena Lyles was killed by Seattle police after she called them for help in 2017. “We celebrate on this bill-signing day, and tomorrow it's back to work on implementation."

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee throws two thumbs up after completing the signing of 12 bills about police accountability during ceremonies at the Eastside Community Center in Tacoma, Wash., on Tuesday, May 18, 2021. (Tony Overman/The News Tribune via AP) © Provided by Associated Press Washington Gov. Jay Inslee throws two thumbs up after completing the signing of 12 bills about police accountability during ceremonies at the Eastside Community Center in Tacoma, Wash., on Tuesday, May 18, 2021. (Tony Overman/The News Tribune via AP)

States lead charge on policing reform while Washington stalls: 'You have to move now' .
Forty states and Washington, D.C., have enacted significant policing reform legislation, according to a group tracking them. Maryland is among those at the forefront. But where Washington has failed to act, states and cities have taken matters into their own hands.

usr: 1
This is interesting!