OLYMPIA, Wash. — Gov. Jay Inslee called some of the police interactions he's seen during recent protests over the death of George Floyd "troublesome," but acknowledged that law enforcement has a "difficult job."
Gov. Inslee, speaking via a web press conference on Wednesday, said he has faith that local police departments will conduct investigations into complaints of alleged excessive force during recent protests.
He said he recognizes officers are working in intense and difficult situations.
"When people are trying to protect the possibility that something be burned down," said Inslee, “They're having a rain of bottles on them or people shining lasers in their eyes."
Inslee said he was glad protest organizers were making a “strong effort” to keep demonstrations peaceful.
He also encouraged demonstrators to practice social distancing and to wear masks when out in public, as the state is still in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.
During Wednesday's press conference, the governor also discussed the state's progress fighting COVID-19 and on reopening the economy.
“The vast majority of counties are either in Phase 2 or have pending applications to move forward as part of our Safe Start plan,” Inslee said.
Gov. Inslee said six counties have applied to move to the third phase of Washington state’s four-stage reopening plan that eases COVID-19 restrictions and allows businesses to start to reopen.
Applications have been submitted for Ferry, Stevens, Pend Oreille, Lincoln, Columbia, and Wahkiakum counties.
They are among eight counties that have been in Phase 2 for three weeks and are eligible to apply to advance to the third phase.
Garfield and Skamania are also eligible to apply as of Wednesday.
Phase 3 which expands group gatherings to 50 or less, including sports activities, and allows restaurants to increase capacity to 75%. Gyms and movie theaters can also reopen at half capacity during this phase.
The governor ended his press conference on Wednesday by making three requests of Washingtonians as they go out to protest the death of George Floyd.
“Please be peaceful, demand change, and wash your hands," Inslee said.