Historic Vote on Washington I-940, De-Escalation Initiative

Historic Vote on I-940, De-Escalation Initiative


In an historic vote the state legislature has passed I-940 and ESHB 3003 to address police use of deadly force.  To move forward, De-Escalate Washington leadership and law enforcement sat down to hear each other and listen.  The process brought the parties together and paved the way for collaboration and an agreement on I-940.


Together I-940 and the agreed upon policy in ESHB 3003 strengthen and clarify the measure so that implementation goes more smoothly and the legal standards for the “good faith” standard are more clear.

I-940 and ESHB 3003:

  • Require violence de-escalation and mental health training.
  • Require first aid training for all officers and require that police render first aid at the earliest safe opportunity.
  • Removes the de facto immunity and adopts a reasonable officer standard.
  • Requires completely independent investigations of use of deadly force.
  • Requires notification of Tribal governments where a tribal person was injured or killed.
  • Brings diverse community stakeholders into the process for input on policy.


These reforms will result in a reduction in violence, fewer injuries and deaths, increase in respect and trust, and improved relationships.


The strength of the De-Escalate Washington campaign is its centering on families who have lost loved ones.

  • Puyallup Tribe member Lisa Earl lost her daughter Jacqueline Salyers in January 2016.  Lisa and the Puyallup Tribe have worked tirelessly on this issue.  “I want to thank the legislators for passing this now and especially want to thank the law enforcement community for coming forward to work with us.  This is such an important step towards building bridges between communities and the police.
  • The family of Leonard Thomas has been working closely with the Deescalate Washington campaign since last summer.  Leonard was unarmed when he was shot by police in 2013.  “There are not enough words to describe how grateful we are.  We believe this will save lives.  Making the law effective in June instead of December will make a difference for everyone.”
  • Marilyn Covarrubias has been a fierce advocate for the passage of I-940.  Marilyn’s son Daniel was killed by Lakewood police in April 2015.  “This issue is so important for the families who have been personally impacted by police violence.  Today is an historic day and will start the healing process for families, for communities, and for law enforcement.”
  • Andre Taylor has been working to address issues related to police practices and police use of force since his brother Che Taylor was killed by Seattle police in February 2016.  “My family knows this won’t bring my brother back.  What it will do is make the future safer for our community.”


The Campaign will be fully engaged in the implementation work over the next year.


Problem Being Addressed

Number of deaths: Washington ranks 5th in the country in number of civilian deaths from police use of force and 15th in per capita rate.  Forty-two people were killed by police in 2017 and twenty-nine in 2016.

Disproportionate Impact: In general, marginalized communities are disproportionately impacted by officer use of force, including people with disabilities, immigrants, and members of the LGBTQ+ community. In Washington State, Native Americans and African Americans experience use of force by officers at higher rates than any other racial or ethnic group.  The national conversation about police accountability underscores the role of race in policing.  And, over one-fourth of deadly force incidents involve an individual with a mental health concern.

An Outlier:  Because our law has a nearly complete immunity for unjustified use of force, there have been no convictions.  On 9/26/15, the Seattle Times, in “Shielded by the Law” referred to our law as “the nation’s most restrictive law on holding officers accountable for the unjustified use of deadly force.”
Tribal Support for I-940 Critical to its passage.

  • Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians (ATNI)
  • Confederated Tribes of the Colville Indian Reservation
  • Cowlitz Indian Tribe
  • Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe
  • Kalispel Tribe of Indians
  • The Lummi Nation
  • Muckleshoot Indian Tribe
  • Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe
  • The Puyallup Tribe of Indians
  • Quinault Indian Nation
  • Snoqualmie Tribe
  • Squaxin Island Tribe
  • Suquamish Tribe
  • The Tulalip Tribes
  • Yakama Indian Nation

Other endorsements here