We have a long and tragic legacy of white supremacy and institutional racism in our country.
The call to redefine public safety and increase police accountability is about more than the extrajudicial killing of George Floyd, or Breonna Taylor, or Michael Brown, or Eric Garner. Or Sandra Bland or the myriad other lives that have been extinguished at the hands of police violence.
It's also about a system that is inequitable and has failed to protect black lives.
From our justice system that is inherently unjust, to the war on drugs, to structures that have been set up with the intent to discriminate, to our system of mass incarceration that disproportionally incarcerates black and brown people, to exclusionary redlining restricting access to neighborhoods and home ownership, to the racial wealth gap, to the inequities within our healthcare system, to Covid-19 related infections and mortality, and the maternal mortality rate of black mothers.
We must not only reform these systems, we must rebuild them with equity and racial justice at their core. We must also reinvest in programs, services, and supports that cultivate community health and safety.
We must build upon the work of I-940, which improves police training in de-escalation tactics, mental health, and the rendering of first aid. It also removes Washington’s de facto immunity from prosecution for unjustified use of deadly force by police.
We must build accountability into every law enforcement agency by increasing accountability and transparency in police union contracts. We must create independent police oversight with subpoena and other investigative powers, implement body cameras, demilitarize the police by barring law enforcement from purchasing military equipment, and further limit the use of deadly force by police. Further, we need to end the system of mass incarceration and invest in restorative justice.