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Gov. Inslee: I hear you, Black Lives Matter

Gov. Inslee thanks protesters on Monday. (TVW)

“I hear you. Black Lives Matter. And because of many of these protests, many people across the country are starting to understand the real meaning of that term,” Gov. Inslee said on Monday.

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The governor said he’s determined to avoid vague promises, and wants quick action to work on institutional racism in Washington state.

“I know that we have to rethink policing and public safety in Washington state, and we have to make sure those discussions are not in a vacuum,” he said.

Inslee is proposing three changes:

    • We need independent investigation and prosecution for officer involved-killings
    • Rethink the use of police force – including chokeholds
    • Create legally binding and enforcement obligation that officers must report misconduct by fellow officers

“Much more is needed,” Inslee said.

The governor acknowledged that policing is a difficult job. He said his cousin, who worked for the King County Sheriff’s Office, died in the line of duty.

“We are hopeful that we can have peaceful protests so that’s an easier job.”

Inslee said the Washington State Patrol will conduct an investigation into the death of Manuel Ellis in Tacoma. The full report will be forwarded to Bob Ferguson to determine what, if any prosecutorial action should be taken by the Attorney General.

The governor said that fixing police brutality does not solve all the problems – there is inequity in health care, economics, and education.

“All of these things have to be on the table for action,” Inslee said.

He said he looks forward to working with legislators and the community to make changes before thanking protesters who jumped in to help on Capitol Hill Sunday night after a man drove into the crowd and shot another man.

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