The nation’s rising awareness of police violence was brought home to the Solid Ground community this summer with the shooting death of Charleena Lyles, a resident of our Sand Point Housing campus. In an effort to find a constructive response to this tragedy, Solid Ground’s Board of Directors unanimously voted to endorse I-940, De-Escalate Washington. We seek your help to get it on the ballot!
This initiative to the state legislature would require law enforcement to:
- Receive ongoing violence de-escalation, mental health, and first aid training.
- Provide first aid to civilians they shoot or injure.
- Change protocols for the use of deadly force.
In addition, it would amend the standard for justifiable use of deadly force by law enforcement, including adding a “good faith” standard and requiring independent investigation.
If this initiative were in place, Charleena Lyles might be here today. No one believes that Charleena’s death was an acceptable outcome. We join with people across our state demanding better training and legal standards to increase everyone’s safety.
Signatures must be collected on paper petitions only, not electronically. The initiative needs to submit about 260,000 signatures by December 29, 2017 to go to state lawmakers for the 2018 legislative session. Lawmakers could then approve I-940, deny it (in which case it would go on the 2018 ballot), or amend the proposal (in which case both the original and amended version would go to voters).
How we can all help
- Request petitions! Either stop by Solid Ground’s Wallingford headquarters building at 1501 North 45th Street, Seattle, WA 98103 to pick some up, or email email@example.com to have petitions mailed to you.
- Sign a petition yourself. Write down the address where you are registered to vote and receive your ballot.
- Gather signatures! Ask your family members, neighbors and friends to sign it. Every signature makes a big difference.
- As a petition gatherer, you must also complete the gray section on the back of the petition, even if you are the only signer.
- Fold it up, put a stamp on it, and return it to the De-Escalate Washington Campaign by the last week of December. Petitions do not have to be full to be returned.
De-Escalate Washington Policy Director, Leslie Cushman, says the belief behind 1-940 is “We can make our communities safer by providing better training to law enforcement and changing police culture. The effectiveness of de-escalation training is evidence based. Training for mental health intervention has saved lives. We can drive behavior by emphasizing that preservation of life is the paramount duty of law enforcement.”
She adds, “We do believe that race is a factor in policing, and that police leadership and rank and file need to have specific training to counter this narrative.” 1-940 includes diverse communities in a policy development role — many of which have not previously been invited to the table for this type of work. “This will change relationships and the governance of ‘law and order.’”
At the 1-940 kickoff rally outside Seattle City Hall earlier this summer, Charleena Lyles’ cousin Katrina Johnson said, “We have to be able to change laws so that someone else’s family isn’t standing up here going through what we’re going through right now.” At Solid Ground, we agree — and we hope you will help us get I-940 on the ballot.
- For more information about Solid Ground’s support of 1-940, please contact Marcy Bowers, Advocacy Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- For more information on 1-940 and other ways to get involved, visit www.deescalatewa.org or contact Leslie Cushman, De-Escalate Washington Policy Director, at email@example.com or Campaign Manager Riall Johnson at Riall@de-escalates.org or 640.520.8397.