AG Ferguson launches statewide I-940 compliance investigation

OLYMPIA, Wash. — State Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced Tuesday that his office launched a statewide I-940 compliance inquiry, looking at investigations of the use of deadly force by police in 2020.

The inquiry was prompted by Pierce County’s “failure to comply with I-940′s requirements for a completely independent investigation in the death of Manuel Ellis,” according to a press release.

I-940, passed in November 2018, requires an independent investigation into all uses of force that result in death or bodily harm. The new rules require that the investigations appoint “at least two non-law enforcement community representatives who have credibility with and ties to communities impacted by police use of deadly force.”

“Pierce County’s admitted failure to comply with the requirements of I-940 is deeply troubling,” Ferguson said. “I hope our inquiry will find that law enforcement agencies across the state, unlike Pierce County, are following the law that requires independent, transparent investigations into the use of deadly force.”

The release stated that the attorney general’s office has found at least 30 uses of deadly force in 2020 that trigger new requirements for a “completely independent” investigation.

The office also said it does not have any evidence of non-compliance with the initiative, other than Pierce County.

This inquiry is separate from the state investigation of Manuel Ellis’ death announced by Gov. Jay Inslee last week, Ferguson said.