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Modified version of police deadly force measure moves forward in Olympia

The House approved Substitute House Bill 1064 Thursday, which will modify I-940.

A modified version of a voter-approved measure that makes it easier to prosecute police officers for negligent deadly shootings in Washington state passed through the House on Thursday. 

SHB 1064 now moves onto the Senate. 

Last November, voters passed I-940 lowering the legal threshold despite police opposition claiming the legal language was confusing and went too far. Since the midterm election, the two sides have been working with lawmakers on amending the initiative. 

The modifications to I-940 include provisions relating to training, the criminal liability standard for use of deadly force, independent investigations of deadly force incidents, and rendering first aid. Officers would also be reimbursed for defense costs if taken to court but found not guilty or charges are dismissed. 

Initiative I-940 was originally filed in 2017 as an initiative to the Legislature. It was certified during the 2018 regular legislative session. The Legislature passed the initiative along with a separate measure, which amended certain provisions of I-940. Because the initiative wasn't approved as-is, it was sent to the voters, who approved it. 

With the House approval, it appears the effort to amend the initiative has gained enough traction in Olympia.

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