Police accountability initiative reaches signature milestone

De-Escalate Washington seeks additional training for law enforcement officers and to make it easier to hold officers accountable in fatal shootings.

A campaign attempting to change Washington state's deadly force law, to make it easier to hold police accountable for fatal shootings, has met a signature milestone.

Supporters of De-Escalate Washington say they'll now take the 280,000 signatures collected to the Secretary of State's office with the hopes of putting Initiative 940 on the 2018 ballot, or into the next legislative session.

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"We are trying to change the policy, but we are also trying to do our part to change the culture," said Riall Johnson, campaign manager for De-Escalate Washington.

The proposal calls for a mandatory 40 hours of de-escalation training among law enforcement statewide.

I-940 also would remove the so-called malice clause in Washington state law, which would make it easier to prosecute officers in the most extreme cases. Proving malice in Washington state is known to be difficult.

"This is not an anti-cop bill," Johnson said. "This would protect the officers from an avoidable situation, too."

Johnson points out King County Sheriff-elect Mitzi Johanknecht also supports the bill.

The campaign was inspired by activists and families whose loved one have been fatally shot by police including Charleena Lyles, Che Taylor, and Tommy Le.