If You Don't Break the Law, You Have Nothing to Worry About

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We hear it all the time, "If you don't break the law you'll be fine. Do what you're told and you won't have to worry about the police." .

That is quite possibly the most dangerous over-simplification of reality in the police accountability debate. For the record, the people who are tossing that argument onto the table are rarely if ever people of color. People of color know from first-hand experience you can find yourself on the wrong end of an encounter with law enforcement while you are following the law and minding your own business without provocation or warning.

By the grace of God, and the fact that his neighbors formed a human barrier around him to shield him from police, this little boy lived. Tamir Rice, a twelve-year-old playing in a park did not live. John T. Williams, who was sitting on a sidewalk carving totems in Seattle did not live. The list of people who were not breaking the law and were trying to comply with orders who did not live after contact with an officer is way too long and growing by the day.

Amnesty Internation says Washington State has the most egregious law in the nation regarding police accountability and use of deadly force. We can and must do better than this.

I-873 is a historic initiative that is the first in the nation that puts policing laws in the hands of the people. By removing the vague and ambiguous state of mind language, we are taking a massive and important first step in improving police accountability in Washington. 

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