Gov. Inslee convening task force to evaluate policing in Washington state

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Gov. Jay Inslee said in a press conference Monday that he is planning to convene a task force to evaluate policing and police brutality in the state in the wake of ongoing protests over the killing of George Floyd.

"I hear you - Black lives matters and because of many of these protests, many people are starting to understand the real meaning of that term," Inslee said.

Inslee said the panel would include local leaders and members of law enforcement, but did not say when it would be created or who specifically would participate.

"It's a moment to do things with a real commitment to change," he added. "We have to rethink policing in the state."

The governor said the task force will develop proposals to send to lawmakers who will help to write “meaningful legislation.”

He said the group would address numerous issues, but have three main action items.

  • Independent investigation and prosecution for officer-involved killings
  • Rethink police use of force - including chokeholds
  • Create legally-binding and enforceable obligation that officers report misconduct by fellow officers

"Thousands of people have been crying out for justice," Inslee said. "Systemic racism has afflicted our communities for decades."

Inslee also reiterated that anyone who attended the protests should be tested for coronavirus.

“Thousands of people have made the decision that the virus of racism is important enough to fight back by peaceful protest,” he said. “And we’ve encouraged them to do in the most distanced manner possible.”