Whatcom Dems adopt Resolution Endorsing I-940 (De-Escalate Washington)
At the November 16 Monthly Membership Meeting, Whatcom Democrats unanimously adopted the following resolution:
Resolution Endorsing I-940 (De-Escalate Washington)
WHEREAS, progressive action against injustice is a core part of our Washington State Democratic Party Platform;
WHEREAS, we are grateful that police put their lives on the line for us, and de-escalation training will help them create safer outcomes for police as well as the public;
WHEREAS, we affirm the role of law enforcement to protect human life and believe that accountability and public trust are a key part of law and order;
WHEREAS, in Washington State, like the rest of the nation, law enforcement use of deadly force has a disproportionate impact on marginalized communities, particularly persons of color, LGBTQ, persons with disabilities, youth, immigrants, with an especially large impact on the black community and Native Americans, and with data showing that one-quarter of uses of deadly force involve a person with mental health issues;
WHEREAS, the duty to preserve life and protect the community also includes underlying respect for the right to life, and a duty to render first aid at the scene;
WHEREAS, Amnesty International has described our state law on the use of deadly force by law enforcement (RCW 9A.16.040) as the most “egregious” in the nation due to de facto immunity for unjustified use of force brought about by the requirement to prove “malice”*;
WHEREAS, the Whatcom County Democrats Platform calls on the Washington State Legislature to “Repeal 1986 police impunity law. Police should resort to lethal force only as a last recourse, after exhausting all other means”;
WHEREAS, the public needs confidence in the review of use of deadly force, particularly when it results in death or serious injury, and a key component of that is independent investigations to provide for a credible outcome;
WHEREAS, Initiative 940, which is an initiative to the Legislature, “would require all law enforcement officers in the state to receive violence de-escalation and mental health training, as developed by the criminal justice training commission. It would require law enforcement personnel to provide first-aid to save lives and require law enforcement agencies to adopt guidelines for implementing this duty. It would amend the standard for justifiable use of deadly force by law enforcement, including adding a “good faith” standard and requiring independent investigation”;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that we, the Whatcom County Democrats, endorse Initiative 940, also known as “De-Escalate Washington”;
THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we, the Whatcom County Democrats, call for widespread support through signature gathering to assure that Initiative 940 qualifies for the ballot, and will work for passage of Initiative 940 during the 2018 legislative session; and, if necessary, pursue its passage through to the November 2018 general election.
Unanimously (10-0) recommended to the Central Committee of Whatcom County Democrats by the Issues & Advocacy Committee at its November 9, 2017, meeting. Approved unanimously by Whatcom County Democrats (no dissentions, no abstentions) at the November 16, 2017, monthly general membership meeting.
* Steve Miletich, Christine Willmsen, Mike Carter, and Justin Mayo, “Shielded by the Law,” Seattle Times, September 26, 2015, http://projects.seattletimes.com/2015/killed-by-police/