WA Legislature Passes New ‘Deadly Force’ Bill, Now Easier to Prosecute Police
It's a rather confusing road, but the simple end result is, now it will be significantly easier to prosecute an officer if they're involved in a fatal shooting.
For nearly two years, a group called De-Escalate Washington has been pushing to try to lower the standards. Originally, according to MyNorthwest.com, it had to be proven that an officer acted with deliberate malice and prejudice towards a suspect in a fatal shooting. It's kinda murky, but it was difficult to bring charges and make them stick.
Now a bill has passed the House and Senate, which reportedly reaches a compromise. But, little information has been specifically released about the bill. But what is believed is that it will make it easier to put a cop on trial for shootings. It also reportedly involves more specific officer training in de-escalation tactics.
The two families behind De-Escalation Washington had members killed by police. One suspect was a felon who committed a rape, robbery and assault. He was shot when he pulled a gun on officers in Seattle. The other, a woman, made a bogus 911 call, then 'lured' police into her apartment before trying to attack them with a knife. She too, was fatally shot.
Initiative 940 (I-940) was the original bill, but after a lot of work in the legislature it was 'compromised' into what's known as House Bill (HB) 3003. That is the one that will go into law. The original bill removed the 'malice' clause, and expanded on the officer acting in 'good faith' part.
Regardless, many law enforcement experts say it muddies the water, and will now put police in a situation where they might be less likely to use deadly force, even if needed, for fear of being prosecuted.