It's hard to have conversations with anyone right now that don't drift in the direction of the state of the nation and our new President. Last week was a terrifying week for many people, for many reasons. However, good things are happening this week in our state and our work on police reform is more important than it's ever been for reasons that are very obvious.
We have two bills that are getting hearings this week. They are twin bills, a house version and a senate version. If you can attending these hearings in person we need bodies at the hearing to show support. It makes a huge difference. If you can come, please wear a purple tie, ribbon, or scarf to show solidarity.
Whether you can come or not, please contact the committee members and let them know you support these bills.
We are also preparing for our Lobby Day February 6. You can get more information and register HERE. Lobby Day's are fun. It's a great way to meet people and get involved. It's also a unique opportunity to meet legislators who will be key in moving our effort forward.
Our lobbying effort is critical. This legislative session is proving to be a traffic jam of policing related bills. Aside from these two bills, pro-police advocates are pushing their own bills in the legislature this session. Some we support. Others we are strongly opposed to. We support legislation that would make it easier to collect data about police shootings, improve training for officers, and provide officers with more non-lethal alternative to deadly force. We strongly oppose any of the "blue lives matter" bills that would put police officers in a protected class.
We need your support in person, on the phones, via email, and we need your financial support. We are raising money to pay for our lobbying efforts to ensure we end up getting where we need to be in this flurry of bills and the highly emotionally charged atmosphere that surrounds them.
We have work to do in Washington. We are getting it done. You've never been more important in this process than you are this week.
Washington for Good Policing is having our lobby day on Monday, February 6th, 2017. We are meeting in the conference room in the General Administration building to get organized and separated into legislative districts. We will then hear from speakers from families of the victims, and briefly go over the agenda. Afterwards we are going to talk with our elected officials at the capitol. Details for the legislative agenda will be made public at our legislative fundraiser on January 4th 2017. Please fill out this form to RSVP for W4GP Lobby Day
I don't know about you, but I feel like it's poignant that this week starts with Martin Luther King Jr. Day and will end with the inauguration of Donald Trump. It is a reality that's hard to swallow, but it's happening. No one knows what happens next. However, what we do know is state law matters more than ever, and our state law regarding police accountability is still the worst in the nation.
Our campaign is in full swing at the legislature. This session is only a couple of weeks old. However, we're already seeing things take shape and progress is starting to feel very possible. Senate Bill 5073 looks very promising. It's possible there may be some modifications to this bill during the review period. However, what we know is it will deliver what we've been demanding. Malice, the unmeetable bar of officer prosecution will be removed.
Chances are very high before this session is over there will be other bills introduced. Most likely there will be "police reform" bills introduced by police advocates that do not address the malice clause. Those bills might introduce legislation regarding improving training and community relations and that is very important. A lot of reform needs to be done. Officer should have the training and tools to do their jobs effectively and safely. We should all support that. However, if a bill does not address the issue of malice it's not good enough.
However, "malice" must go. That is not optional.
The picture I'm trying to paint is the legislative process is going to be complicated. We've had many meetings over the last few days. Some of them have been difficult. All of them have been useful. With the high emotion of this issue and the potential for a traffic jam of bills, the next few weeks pose very unique challenges.
That is why we've hired a lobbyist to make sure we navigate this session with the greatest chance of success.
We need your help to support this effort. You can donate HERE.
You can also help by getting yourself one of these cool t-shirts HERE.
We also need you to email and call your state legislators. You can find them HERE. Put it on your calendar to make contact weekly. Let them know you are demanding police reform that includes the removal of "malice" and you won't settle for anything less.
We are also holding a Lobby Day in Olympia on February 6. You can get info and confirm HERE.
We need you to come and we need you to make your voice heard.
Today is a National Day of Service. There is no more powerful way to serve than helping to make sure our communities and children have a safer future.
Thank you for everything you do.
There is a phenomenon in politics, like most things, called "insider ball". That is the messy stuff going on in the trenches of organizing and campaigning that only those who are personally involved really know about.
For several months, the I-873 campaign has experienced some bumps and messy bits. There have been rumors about inside turmoil and infighting. Those who play "inside ball" knew there were challenges.
We started this campaign as a united group, driven by victim families from around the state. At some point, though, our relationship with Not this Time, led by Andre Taylor became strained. Anyone who's ever been involved in organizing knows how difficult it is to keep everyone on the same page.
However, as the weeks rolled on, it was evident although Washington for Good Policing and Not this Time were working on the same project, they were not working together. Washington for Good Policing's official position was and still is, you cannot have too many people working for change. There is certainly enough work to go around.
Recently, this issue has become much less "insider ball" and much more public due to an article printed in Cross Cut and some subsequent angry posts on social media.
A lot of that anger has been directed at me. I am the citizen filer of the I-873 and the campaign manager for Washington for Good Policing. And for full disclosure, I am white.
It was said in that article that putting a white face on black pain is problematic. I couldn't concur more. I can't possibly understand what it's like to be black.
However, as I've worked through this campaign with all of these families I've personally witnessed the pain of families from every racial and socio-economic background you can imagine. Per capita native and black lives are disporoptionately effected by police brutality. However, as Chester Earl from Justice for Jackie points out, "There are many white victims also."
This is everyone's problem.
Frankly, I am not that important here. I am not the story. I have never been. The stories that matter are the stories of all the families and victims who's lives have forever been changed by police brutality.
There are way too many of those stories to tell. When political infighting over-shadows the losses of those families, we are off track.
Washington for Good Policing has organized and coordinates closely with victim families from around the state. We have built a coalition of supporters in endorsers that is unprecedented in across the aisle support.
We well know that the power lies in a collective group of voices. We are willing to work with a wide coalition who's working on this issue, and we always have been.
Andre Taylor is a powerful voice. His work in the community orananizing has been profoundly valuable. No one disputes this.
Issues between campaigns cannot be a detractor from the mandate to change this law. All of this is a distraction and a blatant disservice to the victim families.
Washington for Good Policing is moving forward with a strong legislative agenda, a unified team, and a plan to get this done.
However, should the legislature fail to act we are asking Not This Time to join in on an agreement that includes the following:
-That any initiative campaign is a standalone campaign, rather than an affiliated campaign of Not This Time or Not This Time Action Fund;
-That a coalition governance committee include three representatives of Washington for Good Policing and three representatives from Not This Time; four organizational representatives from the African-American community; four tribal representatives from the Native-American community; three labor community leaders; two organizational representatives from the Latino community; one API (Asian Pacific Islander) organizational representative, and one LGBTQ community leader;
-That any decisions regarding the hiring of a campaign manager or filing of a new initiative is passed by a 2/3 vote of the governance committee;
-That a community leader from outside both Washington for Good Policing and Not This Time is recruited to serve as the campaign chair;
-That in initial relaunch activities, both Washington for Good Policing and Not This Time have an equal voice in how this occurs.
These are, we feel, essential to the establishing and building the credibility of any formal relaunch of the campaign. Our hope is that Not This Time agrees with the statement that no group in our community can or should try to do this alone; and that our strength lies in our numbers.
We all want the same outcome. And we look forward to hearing from Not This Time so we can put this momentary challenge behind us and move forward toward a successful outcome and change of this law that has hurt so many families across Washington.
Washington for Good Policing
“As family members of victims of police brutality, our lives are forever changed by events we had no control over. When a loved one is taken or has been forever changed, as the shock wears off the first thing you start to think about is justice. Each and every one of us have learned, in our state, in Washington State, justice will not come. The laws in Washington shield police officers absolutely.
In the last few months all of us, in our own ways, have been fighting to change that law by supporting Washington for Good Policing and I-873. We have stood on street corners collecting signatures. We have talked to the press, strangers, and friends and family. We are fighting daily to change this law and we aren’t doing it for ourselves. It won’t bring our loved ones back. Our efforts won’t restore our families. We are doing it so no other family will have to go through what we have.
Although I-873 did not get the signatures required, our efforts have been successful on a massive scale. Our intention was to get a bill in front of the legislature. That has happened. In fact, chances are high there will be more than one bill that addresses the language I-873 targeted. Additionally, we have raised awareness about this issue across the state and created a discussion in Washington that was desperately needed.
We are right where we thought we would be at this point in our fight. We are moving forward in the legislature to ensure that the “without malice and a good faith belief” clause is removed from our state’s statute that governs use of deadly force.
As a family group and as a larger community with Washington for Good Policing, we are moving forward unified, with a strong legislative agenda. We intend to ensure this law is changed in the 2017 legislative session.
We are asking for your support to get this done. We cannot fail. This is too important. Not just for us, but for everyone in Washington, especially our children. We are building a safer future for all of us. “ — the families of I-873
The Salyers, Earl, Rideout families, for Jackie
The Covarrubias family, for Daniel
The Fitch Family, for Samuel Toshiro Fitch
The Chaplin/Thompson family, Andre and Bryson
The Ayers family - for Cameron Ayers
Sylvia Sabon - for Oscar Perez-Giron
Noel Parish - for Joel Anthony Nelson
The I-873 campaign sponsored by Washington For Good Policing, was inspired by the 2010 law enforcement shooting of John T. Williams, but it is not about one singular incident or one person. It is about all of the survivors, families, and communities affected by this regressive state law that renders prosecution impossible.
Washington for Good Policing will be hosting a legislative fundraiser at Vermillion on Wednesday, Jan. 4 from 6–9 p.m.
Reserve tickets here. Puyallup tribe member and survivor Chester Earl will share the story of his cousin, Jackie Salyers. On Jan. 28, 2016, a Tacoma police officer shot and killed Puyallup tribe member Jackie Salyers. You will get to meet other family members of victims of police brutality. Their stories will change the way you think about police brutality. The citizen sponsor of I-873, Lisa Hayes, will also speak, announcing the official lobby day (Monday, Feb. 6) and outlining next steps for the movement and the legislative agenda.
This is an important event. Please come out to meet and support the victim families who are working so hard to change this law.
If you cannot attend, please volunteer or donate today. We are actively fundraising for our lobbyist for the legislative session. We will need your help in the coming weeks more than ever.
The holidays are over and we're back in full swing. Washington for Good Policing is hosting a Fundraiser tomorrow, January 4 starting at 6 p.m. We're looking forward to seeing you there. There will be entertainment, food, speakers, and an in-depth discussion about the legislative agenda and how you can get involved now.
You can get more information about the event HERE.
You can purchase tickets in advance HERE.
No one will be turned away.
We are more committed than ever to getting Washington's law regarding use of deadly force for law enforcement officers changed. There is no excuse for Washington to be dead last in the nation for police accountability. Failure is not an option. Now is the time to get that work done in Olympia. With the momentum we've built, and the work of the taskforce we are more confident than ever that changing this law is about to become a reality.
We are currently raising money to fund the lobbying effort in the legislative session. You've been the most important part of our team from day one. This has always been the People's initiative, fueled by individuals and volunteers. We need your help now more than ever.
Please volunteer or donate today.
You will be getting regular updates about how to get involved in the days and weeks to come. In the meantime, mark your calendar. Please plan on coming to our Lobby Day in Olympia February 6. It's a great opportunity to meet your legislatures personally and demand that they take action.
We cannot wait for another shooting or another committee. Now is the time to get this done.
We are literally in the last few days of the signature gathering portion of our campaign. Despite what you may have heard, we are still counting, and signatures are pouring in every day. It's a long shot that we will make the required 250,000 signatures for this portion of the campaign. However, until the last moment we have we are going to continue to fight for those signatures.
If you're sitting on petitions you haven't returned, please send them today:
Washington for Good Policing
PO Box 2365
Shelton, WA 98584
The important thing to know about this campaign is the signature gathering phase, is just that. It's phase one.
Phase two of our campaign has always been the legislative effort.
I-873 is an initiative to the legislature. The goal was to get a bill on the table in Olympia. That goal has already been accomplished. Due to the efforts of the Washington State Task Force on the Use of Deadly Force in Community Policing, and the massive amount of pressure our efforts through the initiative have created, there are already multiple bills regarding this issue that have been filed. There will likely be other bills to follow in the next few days and weeks.
So, no matter what, our campaign is still on track. The next thing we need to do is promote our legislative agenda in Olympia. As you probably know, a similar bill failed in the last legislative session. So, it is critically important that we fund a strong lobbying effort to ensure we get the police accountability that is required in our state.
Washington State is dead last in the nation when it comes to police accountability laws. In all of the discussions, with all of the different opinions and perspectives, that is the one thing everyone agrees on. That's not acceptable. Failure is not an option.
We need your help now more than ever. We are in the process of funding our lobbying efforts for this legislative session. The I-873 campaign has always been the People's Initiative. It's been driven and funded one person at a time. We've never needed you more than we do today.
PLEASE DONATE TO FUND THE LEGISLATIVE EFFORT HERE.
In the coming days and weeks, you'll be hearing a lot more from us about how to get involved in this portion of the campaign. The most important thing to know if the December 30th deadline for signatures is simply a transition point in the campaign.
We will fight until we win.
Last week a state task force voted to recommend changes to the state law that shields law enforcement officers from prosecution after killing people. A lot of people are wondering what that means for I-873 and our efforts to amend the law through an initiative.
The first thing it means is a panel of Washington State's experts on community and policing agree with what we are trying to accomplish. The bi-partisan task force recommended removing malice from the statute entirely. They also recommended redefining "good faith" which was an element strongly supported by prosecutors working on the task force. The task force also made several other substantive recommendations revolving around training and supporting officers to be better equipt to do their jobs.
The work of the task force and all if it's members is historic. It's admirable. They were up against very difficult odds because by design the panel was split to provide diverse community and law enforcement expertise. We are grateful for the work they did.
However, nothing changes for us. There is no guarantee the task force's recommendations will be acted upon in the legislature. A similar effort failed in the legislature last year. Most certainly, the credibility of the task force and it's members will bring a lot more influence to the effort to make changes to the law through a legislative effort. However, we feel now the way we always have:
Our mission is the same as it always has been. We intend to put policing laws in the hands of the voters in Washington State. We will continue to work towards that end unless the legislature takes action before we do.
We are entering the final month of our window to collect the signatures we need. People are asking every day where we are at with that signature count. The answer remains the same. We are behind, but we are still in the game. Your support has never been more important than it is now.
Please donate or volunteer today.
This is the story of two men. One of those is a police officer who'd been formally disciplined for covering up his use of excessive force. One of them was a man who was sleeping in his car.
The officer claimed that this young man had lunged at him with a toy gun and that the in response he shot him to death with a bullet to the brain. And Captain Light, and investigator, says point-blank that's a fabrication, period.
Rocendo Arias was just 23 years old. Officer Gillette, who shot and killed him, went back to work, and of course, was not charged.
This didn't happen in Ferguson.
This didn't happen in Baltimore.
This wasn't New York or Los Angeles.
This is Yakima, Washington, and this type of incident unfortunately, isn't all that uncommon in Yakima.
A lot of people like to think Washington doesn't have the kinds of problems other places do. A lot of people are wrong. This incident happened in 2014 and until the family filed the law suit last week, we didn't know about it. The horrifying reality is we learn about incidents like this we didn't know about way too often because there are way too many of them.
All of the victims are unique. Each story is different. However, the end is always the same. The officer is not charged because our law does not allow for it. Then the officer goes back to work as if nothing happened. A family is left broken, forever changed, because a loved one was taken from them.
Help us change this law, for those families, and for our children. Help us change this law because it's time for Washington State NOT to be worst in the nation for police accountability.
Donate or volunteer now.
The Local Police Department, the County Prosecutor, the DOJ, and the State Attorney General Gave These Officers a Free Pass to Murder