Washington Lawmakers Strip Down Bill About Police Use Of Force
A bill that would put police use-of-force under the microscope is headed to the governor for final approval. But recent amendments have stripped down the measure.
The measure would create a task force to review policing laws. Current law says an officer can't be convicted of a crime involving deadly force unless they acted with malice.
The original bill asked the task force to recommend changes to that law. But that idea was dropped after opposition from police leaders.
Mitch Barker directs the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs. He said if the task force proposed making the law stricter, he thought "all it would really do is give police officers one more disincentive to go to work, that they would be more readily charged with a crime in a deadly force situation."
He supports the bill now that it has been amended.
Rep. Cindy Ryu (D-Shoreline), who sponsored the measure, said she is not upset about the changes to the bill and the task force could still address the use of deadly force.
"The four legislators that will be at the table will still be looking at that language" of the deadly force law, she said. "I just want us to vote on this bill."
More than two dozen states passed bills last year to address police use of force.