Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan threw the city's support behind Initiative 940 Friday, which would require new training for police officers across the state. The mayor signed a resolution endorsing the initiative, even though the city's police union is its biggest opponent.
The police accountability initiative would make it easier to criminally charge police officers who negligently use deadly force. The legislation also would require de-escalation and mental health training for officers.
Durkan signed the resolution on behalf of the city and the City Council despite the Seattle Police Officers Guild (SPOG) voicing strong opposition to I-940.
The mayor and the police union had just reached a tentative agreement on a new six-year contract.
"I view this as a really important mechanism to make sure that the gains we have in Seattle can be shared statewide as quickly as possible," said Durkan. "I haven't the chance to sit down with the membership and leadership of SPOG on this issue, but I know they are committed to reforms."
SPOG representatives declined to comment on the mayor's endorsement.
Perhaps it's not surprising the union is keeping a low profile before the federal court hearing on Monday. Judge James Robart is expected to weigh in on the new tentative contract with the police union. Both SPOG and the mayor are hoping to get his approval.
The Community Police Commission has come out against the contract.
Sitting in the audience during the Durkan's signing were some of Charleena Lyles' family members.
In June 2017, two Seattle police officers shot and killed the young mother who was likely in crisis, when Lyles allegedly pulled a knife on them after calling police to her home.
Her cousin, Katrina Johnson, hopes I-940 will prevent more police shootings in the future.
"I'm happy because change needs to be coming," said Johnson. "Why not get on board with something that needs to come anyway."