Washington State House of Representatives Passes Bill Banning Harmful Police Tactics

House Bill 1054 would ban the use of harmful tactics such as chokeholds and no-knock warrants

Affiliate: ACLU of Washington
February 27, 2021 10:15 pm

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OLYMPIA, Wash. — Today, the Washington state House of Representatives passed House Bill 1054, which would ban a number of potentially dangerous tactics and equipment used by police officers in the state. The bill would prohibit officers from using chokeholds and neck restraints, no-knock warrants, and from intentionally concealing their badge numbers or other identifying information, among other concerning tactics. The bill also increases restrictions on vehicular pursuits and curtails shooting at moving vehicles. These and other tactics have historically, and up to the present, been used disproportionately against communities of color, and in ways that escalate tensions, place lives at risk, and even result in death. HB 1054 now goes to the Washington state Senate where advocates are calling for a quick hearing.

“I want to thank the organizers, the advocates, and the law enforcement that helped to craft this legislation. But most importantly, I want to acknowledge the countless families of loved ones who have died at the hands of police violence,” said Rep. Jesse Johnson, D-Federal Way, the prime sponsor of the bill. “You shared your stories with us despite unimaginable pain and suffering. You helped us develop this bill. And while the policy details may be complex, the values behind this legislation can be distilled into a single sentence: That preserving and protecting human life must be the most fundamental value of our law enforcement. Today, some tactics used by law enforcement do not uphold that value.”

The Washington Coalition for Police Accountability had this reaction to today’s floor vote:

“We are elated that the House of Representatives passed House Bill 1054. Passing HB 1054 is an important part of preventing unnecessary violence by police officers, and we applaud the House of Representatives for passing the bill. Just last year, we saw how deadly certain law enforcement tactics can be through the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor — two separate tragedies that renewed calls for much-needed change in policing culture. Officers hold state sanctioned power over life and death, and it is critical that they handle that power with care. Removing these harmful tactics is a positive step in that direction, and we urge the state legislature to pass not only HB 1054, but the many police reform bills, such as House Bills 1202, 1267 and 1310, and Senate Bill 5051 to ensure families are no longer victim to needless violence because of reckless policing.”

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