Black Lives Matter Seattle King County Hosts Emergency Call to Action Meeting to Push Forward Police Accountability Policies in Washington Legislature

by Chamidae Ford


On the evening of Feb. 11, Black Lives Matter Seattle-King County (BLMSKC) called an emergency action meeting online. There are currently seven bills in Olympia that run the risk of dying in committee before they can become law. They represent a future with a less violent and more accountable police force. BLMSKC used the meeting to encourage their supporters to get in contact with their representatives and detailed how they could  do so.

“There are bills in Olympia that concern all of the things that we care about, and all of the things you care about, and of all of the things that you have been demanding in your communities all across Washington state not just in big cities but in small cities,” Sakara Remmu from Washington Black Lives Matter Alliance said. “To change policing, to change how we respond to communities in crisis, and yes to create a higher standard of accountability and transparency for all officers.”

These bills have the ability to create real systematic change if they become law. 

“These are all statewide solutions,” Remmu said. “Are they all perfect? No. Are they massive steps in the right direction? Absolutely.”

During the meeting, Remmu detailed each bill and explained why they are important and how they would change the way policing is currently done. She also said who to contact to push them closer to enacting these laws. Supporters need  to reach out and show support for these bills by Monday, Feb. 15, the cutoff day for the bills to leave committee and be considered for a floor vote. 

Remmu emphasized that everything that they have been working and marching for has led them to this point. It is important to show that Washington wants these laws.

“These lawmakers need to hear from you,” Remmu said. “They need to know Washington state is ready for this.”

DeAunte Damper, the new board chair of BLMSKC, made closing remarks where he reminded everyone that “Black lives matter all the time.”

Contacting your representatives and getting these bills turned laws shows that “we are more than just a hashtag folks, and they are about to find out,” Damper said.

An explanation of the seven bills currently at risk of dying before they become law is below. Black Lives Matter Seattle-King County also created a video on the bills and how to lobby lawmakers to pass them. 

HB 1054: This law would ban the use of chokeholds, tear gas, neck restraints, and obtain no-knock warrants. It would also restrict shooting at moving vehicles, restrict hot pursuits, and require all officers to have visible identification.

For this bill, contact your house representatives to comment. You can use the district finder to figure out who your lawmaker is. BLMSKC’s video shows in detail how to fill out the forms correctly.

HB 1507: This law would allow independent investigations of police actions through the Attorney General’s (AG) office. It would allow a local prosecutor and the AG office to file charges against excessive force from a police officer. The AG would maintain an independent prosecution team. If the AG decides not to prosecute an officer, they would have to fill out a public report explaining why.

For this bill, submit a written testimony before the 1:30 p.m. public hearing on Monday, Feb. 15. BLMSKC suggests you tell them where you live in Washington, why the bill matters, and why they should vote to support it.

HB 1267: This law would create a new independent agency called the Office of Independent Investigations that would investigate police who have used deadly force. Current and former police officers wouldn’t be allowed to be a part of the agency. 

Send an email to Timm.Ormsby@leg.wa.gov and Drew.Stokesbary@leg.wa.gov to provide comment on this bill. BLMSKC suggests you ask them to schedule the bill for a hearing before the end of the day on Monday, Feb. 15.

HB1310: This bill would require police officers to de-escalate a scene before using weapons. Deadly force would be  used only as a last result when there is a threat of imminent bodily harm. This bill would clarify and strengthen Initiative 940. 

Send an email to Timm.Ormsby@leg.wa.gov and Drew.Stokesbary@leg.wa.gov to comment on this bill.  BLMSKC suggests you ask them to schedule the bill for a hearing before the end of the day on Monday, Feb. 15.

HB 1202: This law, the Peace Officer Accountability Act, would allow the State Attorney General to investigate police misconduct. 

Send an email to Timm.Ormsby@leg.wa.gov and Drew.Stokesbary@leg.wa.gov to comment on this bill. BLMSKC suggests you ask them to schedule the bill for a hearing before the end of the day on Monday, Feb. 15.

HB 1203: This law would require cities to create community boards that have oversight over the Police Department operations. Every police department with more than 15 officers would need to have these community boards by 2025. It allows community oversight boards to investigate abuses of power and suggest policy changes. They can also suggest police officers that abuse their power for decertification.

Send an email to Timm.Ormsby@leg.wa.gov and Drew.Stokesbary@leg.wa.gov to comment on this bill. BLMSKC suggests you ask them to schedule the bill for a hearing before the end of the day on Monday, Feb. 15.

SB 5051: To date, Washington state has never decertified an officer for excessive violence. This law would give the Criminal Justice Training Commission more ability to certify or decertify an officer. It would also require the majority of the commission to be made up by community members. Currently only 13 officers a year are decertified in the United States. 

Email Christine.Rolfes@leg.wa.gov and Lynda.wilson@leg.wa.gov to get the bill passed out of committee.


Chamidae Ford is currently a senior journalism major at the University of Washington. Born and raised in Western Washington, she has a passion for providing a voice to the communities around her. She has written for The Daily, GRAY Magazine, and Capitol Hill Seattle. You can reach Chamidae Ford at IG/Twitter @chamidaeford.

Featured image: A person holds up a first in solidarity with marchers, during the March of Silence on June 12, 2020 in Seattle, WA. (Photo: Carolyn Bick) 

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