Justice for Jackie: Signs at I-940 signature turn-in
Justice for Jackie: Signs at I-940 signature turn-in

Wash­ing­ton State is slat­ed to have at least one pro­gres­sive idea on the Novem­ber 2018 bal­lot fol­low­ing today’s sub­mis­sion of sig­na­tures for Ini­tia­tive 940 by De-Esca­late Wash­ing­ton, a broad and diverse coali­tion of orga­ni­za­tions that is seek­ing polic­ing reforms to reduce the use of dead­ly force in our communities.

I‑940 “would require spe­cif­ic train­ings for law enforce­ment; man­date a duty to pro­vide first-aid; and change the stan­dards for use of dead­ly force, includ­ing a ‘good faith’ stan­dard and requir­ing inde­pen­dent inves­ti­ga­tion”, as not­ed by its amend­ed bal­lot title, which was approved by court order back in the sum­mer.

I‑940 requires that all cur­rent­ly sworn law enforce­ment offi­cers under­go vio­lence de-esca­la­tion and men­tal health train­ing begin­ning a year fol­low­ing the date the ini­tia­tive goes into law, makes ren­der­ing first aid a respon­si­bil­i­ty of police, and pre­scribes a “good faith” stan­dard for use of dead­ly force.

It also man­dates that each use of dead­ly force be investigated.

“Where the use of dead­ly force results in death, sub­stan­tial bod­i­ly harm, or great bod­i­ly harm, an inde­pen­dent inves­ti­ga­tion must be com­plet­ed to inform the deter­mi­na­tion of whether the use of dead­ly force met the objec­tive good faith test estab­lished by this sec­tion and sat­is­fied oth­er applic­a­ble laws and poli­cies,” states Part VI of the ini­tia­tive (Sec­tion 7, sub­sec­tion 5D).

NPI sup­ports I‑940 and is a mem­ber of the De-Esca­late Wash­ing­ton coali­tion, which was able to gath­er over 360,000 sig­na­tures using a mix­ture of vol­un­teers and paid sig­na­ture gath­er­ers dur­ing the lat­ter half of 2017.

I-940 petitions
Peti­tions for I‑940, await­ing sub­mis­sion (Pho­to: De-Esca­late Washington)

Coali­tion mem­bers gath­ered at the Unit­ed Church­es of Olympia to cel­e­brate a suc­cess­ful sig­na­ture dri­ve before march­ing over to the Sec­re­tary of State’s Elec­tions Annex on Union Street to drop off box­es of peti­tions. The march took place in the rain, but that did not put a damper on the event, which was months in the making.

Speak­ers at the coali­tion’s press con­fer­ence accom­pa­ny­ing the turn-in includ­ed Lisa Earl and James Ride­out (the moth­er and uncle of Jack­ie Saly­ers), Uyen Le and Xuyen Le (the aunts of Tom­my Le), Mar­i­lyn Covar­ru­bias (the moth­er of Daniel Covar­ru­bias), and Kat­ri­na John­son (the cousin of Charleena Lyles).

The received peti­tions will soon be imaged by the Sec­re­tary of State’s Elec­tions Divi­sion and sub­ject­ed to a ran­dom sam­ple check to ver­i­fy that the ini­tia­tive has met the min­i­mum sig­na­ture thresh­old, which is 259,622.

Because I‑940 is an ini­tia­tive to the 2018 Leg­is­la­ture, it will first be pre­sent­ed to the House and Sen­ate dur­ing the leg­isla­tive ses­sion for hear­ings and a pos­si­ble vote. If the Leg­is­la­ture does noth­ing, I‑940 will appear on the Novem­ber 2018 ballot.

The Con­sti­tu­tion gives the Leg­is­la­ture oth­er options. Law­mak­ers can put I‑940 on the books itself by giv­ing the ini­tia­tive an affir­ma­tive vote in both hous­es (no guber­na­to­r­i­al sig­na­ture required), or craft an alter­na­tive to I‑940 that would appear on the bal­lot along­side the orig­i­nal mea­sure. Vot­ers would then decide whether to approve the orig­i­nal mea­sure or the Leg­is­la­ture’s alternative.

About the author

Andrew Villeneuve is the founder and executive director of the Northwest Progressive Institute, as well as the founder of NPI's sibling, the Northwest Progressive Foundation. He has worked to advance progressive causes for over two decades as a strategist, speaker, author, and organizer. Andrew is also a cybersecurity expert, a veteran facilitator, a delegate to the Washington State Democratic Central Committee, and a member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps.

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