New ballot initiative seeks to train officers in de-escalation techniques

by: Essex Porter Updated:

SEATTLE - There's a new ballot initiative to train police officers on how to de-escalate situations before they become deadly.     

The initiative comes in the wake of the shooting of Charleena Lyles three weeks ago.

Officers on the scene said the mother of four was threatening them with a knife when they shot her. Her family believes the police should have done more to end the confrontation without killing her.

Supporters of I-940 launched their campaign today. The initiative requires I-940 that police statewide are trained in de-escalating situations before they become violent, how to handle people with mental health symptoms, and how to render immediate First Aid after officers use force.

Lyles’ sisters Monika Williams and Tiffany Rogers clung to each as the campaign began.

“It's making this aware. It can hit anybody’s family, it can happen to you. It happened to me,” Williams said. "Now, I've got a new path. It's going to be a never-ending path.

The initiative would change current law, which makes it almost impossible to prosecute police for misuse of force by requiring proof of malice.

I-940 says deadly force would be justified only when an officer acts in "good faith" to protect themselves or others and when a "reasonable officer" would agree with the need to use force. An Independent Investigation would also be required.

Other families who have been affected by police shootings also voiced their support.

"We need de-escalation so the police can receive the best training, not murder our families. We ar still missing our children,” said Maria Perez-Giron whose son was killed by officers who say he waived a gun at them three years ago.

 

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