On Wednesday in Kelso, an officer shot and killed an unarmed black man who allegedly assaulted him with a stick. We don’t know a lot about this incident yet. However, in the coming days, we will hear a lot about use of deadly force. There will be a lot of discussion about whether or not it’s reasonable to shoot and kill someone wielding a stick.
In the US that type of use of deadly force is common. In most countries, it is not. Almost all European countries have a much different standard for use of force which is “absolutely necessary” where in the U.S. it’s usually measured by “reasonable judgement”.
In Washington State, the only qualifying factor for using deadly force is that the officer didn’t act with malice. If you can’t prove the officer acted with “evil intent” the officer will walk every time. You simply can’t prove what someone is thinking. We all know this is why we must change this law. Amnesty International says Washington has the most egregious law in the nation on this issue. Washington can and should do better.
On Tuesday the Tacoma Police Department’s deadly force review panel issued a statement saying the January shooting of Jackie Salyers was justified. The Tacoma Police Department investigated the actions of Tacoma police officers. We need to be asking ourselves if that’s even possible.
Jackie’s family and the Justice for Jackie organization are a huge part of the I-873 family. There are a lot of facts in this case that conflict the police accounts of what happened that night. However, these are the investigative results we see from around the nation when cops investigate cops. There simply cannot be justice where there is no impartiality.
On Tuesday night in Olympia, a black man was stabbed by a white supremacist who claimed his intent was to support and defend the Olympia Police Department against Black Lives Matter protestors. For the record this did not happen during a protest. It happened while this innocent man was smoking a cigaret on a sidewalk outside a bar with his girlfriend.
Olympia has been a hot bed for these kinds of fringe white supremacy groups since the May 2015 shooting to two unarmed black men by an Olympia police officer. The descended on Olympia in “support” of the police in droves.
To be clear, the Olympia police department did not ask for anyone’s help. However, these kinds of incidents are a product of racism and a very broken relationship between police departments and the communities they serve. We believe I-873 is a first and powerful step to rebuilding community trust.
The time for change in our state is now. We cannot wait for another legislative session, committee, or shooting.
Join us today.