Washington State House of Representatives Passes Bill Establishing Statewide De-escalation Standard for Law Enforcement

HB 1310 would establish statewide requirements to reduce police violence

Affiliate: ACLU of Washington
March 6, 2021 9:00 pm

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OLYMPIA, Wash. — Today, the Washington State House of Representatives passed House Bill 1310, which implements a statewide de-escalation and duty of care standard for officers. The bill emphasizes de-escalation over confrontation and requires using the minimum level of force possible during encounters with members of the public, taking into consideration a person’s characteristics such as whether they are pregnant, a youth, in a mental health crisis, or living with a disability. HB 1310 further requires deadly force only be used as a last resort when necessary to protect against an imminent threat of serious physical injury or death. The bill now heads to the Senate.

“The bill before us is the cornerstone of our police reform package. A clear statewide standard would reduce violence between police and community members. It will rebuild trust in the police with the communities that they serve,” said Rep. Jesse Johnson, D-Federal Way. “Everyone deserves to be safe, to be protected, and to know that peace officers are there to serve them. That’s what our work is focused on. To make sure every life is valued. So there’s many reasons to vote ‘yes’ today, Madame Speaker. But I’m voting ‘yes’ to say their names: Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and Manny Ellis.”

The Washington Coalition for Police Accountability had this reaction to today’s floor vote:

“Today’s vote in the House of Representatives sends a clear message that, for all corners of the state, preserving life should be an officer’s primary focus in encounters with the public. Officers hold state sanctioned power over life and death and should be required to handle that power with care by de-escalating situations, not inflaming them. Yet too often in this state and throughout the nation, officers have abused their power to use force, resulting in deadly situations that create permanent scars for families who’ve lost loved ones to police violence. House Bill 1310 will address this issue by ensuring all law enforcement personnel have a clear understanding that they should care for the wellbeing of everyone they encounter. The bill is the right step to ensure everyone involved in an encounter with police makes it home safely, and fewer lives are lost to needless violence.”

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