Lawmakers want to fast-track amendment to I-940
State legislators want to fast-track an amendment to I-940 as their new legislative session begins.
The revision bill clarifies the good faith standard in deadly use of force, requirements to render first aid, and an independent investigation requirement in I-940.
Democratic State Rep. Roger Goodman is behind the bill, which I- 940 backers and many law enforcement groups agree on. The idea was always going to be fast-tracked, but there’s even more of a sense of urgency following a deadly Seattle police shooting on New Years Eve involving Iosia Faletogo.
The goal is to get it out of the House likely by the end of this week, the Senate next week, and then it’s expected that Gov. Jay Inslee will sign it within the first 10 days.
The new bill exempts police departments under a consent decree — such as Seattle — from the independent investigation requirement. Those cities will still be subject to that part of the law once they are out from under consent decree.
In terms of support for the legislation, the debate rages on from both sides.
“Washington State can set an example for the rest of the country,” said Steve Strachan with the Washington Association of Sheriff’s and Police Chiefs, one of several law enforcement organizations that opposed I-940, but helped craft the new bill.
“(I-940) does not protect law enforcement officers, therefore, it does not protect the public,” Mike Solan with the Council of Metropolitan Police and Sheriff’s told KTTH’s Jason Rantz in opposition.
I-940’s first major test?
A traffic stop involving Iosia Faletogo led to a fatal shooting, with body cam footage that showed him running from his car following a traffic stop. Officers tackle him and he appears to grasp at what police say was a stolen handgun. When he was shot, the video shows the gun was no longer in Faletogo’s hand, but may have also been reaching for it.
I-940, which passed by 60 percent in the November election, requires mandatory, standardized de-escalation training for all law enforcement in Washington and lowers the bar for determining evil intent when deadly force is used by officers.
In terms of implementation in this specific case, though, it could be some time before any conclusions are arrived at.
A letter the Seattle Community Police Commission from Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan, Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes, and Chief of Police Carmen Best laid out the specifics. In it, they noted that despite the fact that I-940 took effect on Dec. 6, 2018, it will be months before rules regarding the legislation’s independent investigation requirement can be solidified and implemented.
KIRO Radio’s Hanna Scott contributed to this article