When you're doing the kind of work we do, you run into an internet troll every once in a while. The conversation in the comments almost always starts with something like:
"If you aren't breaking the law you won't have a problem with the cops."
"If you don't resist arrest, you won't get hurt."
"If you respect the police they'll respect you."
If you've ever secretly had thoughts like those, please take a moment to rewatch this video about a therapist, doing his job, who was shot while laying down to try to be submissive, with his hands in the air. He didn't think it would happen to him. He told himself it wouldn't happen to him, right up until he got shot.
And while those statements might be true most of the time, let's get real, that sentiment is not true all of the time, and statistically, it's less likely to be true depending on what color you are, or if you suffer from mental illness.
We work with families in Washington State, who have families just like yours. They all have one thing in common. They never thought it would happen to them. They never thought their lives would be forever changed at the hands of an officer in a Use of Deadly force incident. Then it did happen to them.
The shooting in North Miami illustrates a point we all need to grasp. Being a law abiding citizen, who responds to the police politely, saying "Yes Sir." or "No Sir", who wouldn't even dream of resisting arrest, doesn't mean it will never happen to you or someone you love. A lot of people are living in fear every day and they have a lot of reasons to feel that way.
This is a complicated issue. We aren't going to unpack it in one neat box. There isn't one simple solution. However, we have to start somewhere and taking our laws back is a very good place to begin.
A legislator recently told me that policing laws are nuanced and complicated therefore they should be handled at the legislature where people understand lawmaking. There is a lot of talk like that our there right now. However, we take exception to that way of thinking. We believe that the citizens of Washington and around our country are smart enough to know officers who are charged with upholding the law, shouldn't be exempt from it.
I-873 is not complicated. It simply makes officers in Washington State more accountable by removing the "state of mind" language from our laws that make it virtually impossible to prosecute an officer in our state.
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