Family of Che Taylor says law allows police to ‘murder without accountability’
The family of Che Taylor, who was shot to death by Seattle police in the Wedgwood neighborhood, is hoping to get just a few words changed in a Washington law.
According to Che Taylor’s brother, Andrè, the current law allows “police officers to murder without accountability.”
The law in question, which was passed 30 years ago, defines when police can legally use force. The two most crucial words are “without malice.” Right now, if a jury believes an officer fired without malice, nearly any shooting in the course of duty is legal, KIRO Radio’s Dave Ross pointed out.
According to Andrè, only one officer has been charged — and later acquitted — of malicious intent during a shooting.
But the attempt to alter the law is not an effort to handicap officers, Andrè says. During a news conference Wednesday at Seattle City Hall, he said the initiative to change the law seeks to hold police accountable.
“If we, as Americans, have given them the right to use deadly force, we also need to match that right with accountability when they use it,” Andrè said.
Initiative 873 is named the “John T. Williams Bill.” John T. Williams was the woodcarver shot and killed by Seattle police in 2011 while he was carrying a pocketknife. Officer Ian Birk resigned after the shooting but was not prosecuted.
While Andrè and his family look to get the initiative in front of the Legislature or voters — they need about 250,000 signatures, The Seattle Times reports — the family also wants answers for the Che’s death.
The gun, which police allege Che was trying to pull out when they approached him in February, was found to be linked to a former King County Sheriff’s Deputy. Andrè says the family has, “always been consistent in believing that the gun was planted, and we still believe it to this day …”
Andrè wants an independent investigation done into the shooting. Why?
“I think asking police to investigate themselves is like asking a family member to investigate their own family members,” he said. “It’s impossible.”