Skip to main content

Police accountability agenda loses some teeth in WA Legislature

By March 22, 2021March 23rd, 2021News


While some police reforms are advancing, efforts to create stronger community oversight boards and make it easier to sue police for misconduct have stalled.

After last year’s Black Lives Matter protests, Washington state lawmakers set out to enact a sweeping collection of police accountability reforms in 2021.

Some of those measures are advancing swiftly through the Legislature, including a proposal to ban chokeholds and a bill to beef up the state’s system for decertifying police officers.

But other police reform bills have stalled — including a plan to end the qualified immunity that can shield officers from civil lawsuits and a measure to stop arbitrators from reversing police discipline.

“There should be no pats on the back at this point,” said Lyn Idahosa, executive director of the Federal Way Black Collective. “No one in the community is like, ‘We are so ecstatic now because our lives are so much safer.’ “

“No one is safer. No one is saying that,” added Idahosa, who also is a core member of another group, Washington for Black Lives.

Read full article