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Gov. Inslee holds first meeting of task force on police use of force

Wanesha Moore (L) joins other attendees as they prepare to release balloons during a memorial and rally for peace in memory of Horace Lorenzo Anderson on July 2, 2020 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by David Ryder/Getty Images)

Gov. Jay Inslee’s task force on independent investigations of police use of force held their first meeting Thursday. The task force is part of a coordinated effort with legislators to provide a comprehensive set of reforms, and will provide insight and feedback, review the I-940 structure and protocols, other investigation models, and ultimately provide input to help inform legislation.

Gov. Inslee names task force to address issues of policing, racial justice

Members of the group include families who have lost loved ones to law enforcement, community members, and representatives of law enforcement agencies.

“We have convened this group because instead of just the governor proposing specific ideas, we want it to be led by the community members who really have experience with this field of endeavor that is so important,” Inslee said.

“Realizing the pain that your families have experienced, I very much appreciate your willingness to help out. This voice is critical in this discussion,” he added.

One of the first topics the group will need to cover, Inslee said, is whether the current system for independently investigating the use of force needs to be modified or completely scrapped and built from the ground up.

“We have to have a credible, independent system here that gets to the truth, where everyone feels that we have had a fairness, and comprehensiveness, and completeness, and timeliness of these investigations and prosecutorial decisions,” the governor said.

In recent weeks, Gov. Inslee called for a state review of the death of Manuel Ellis while in Tacoma police custody. But the goal of this task force is to build a better overall system that won’t require making decisions on a case by case basis.

“We don’t want this to be an ad hoc, one case at a time decision,” he said. “We want a system that we can be confident in going in the years to come.”

Inslee said he would like to have recommendations from the task force before the next session of the legislature begins.

Monisha Harrell of Equal Rights Washington thanked viewers and all those who have supported, protested, or helped propel the movement in any way to reach this point. She also called on everyone to keep up the momentum, noting that this much change will take more than one session.

The KIRO Radio Newsdesk contributed to this report.

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