Statement in Support of I-940

September 8, 2017

Seahawk Michael Bennett recently came forward with his frightening experience of police brutality in which a Las Vegas police officer threatened his life while holding a gun to his head. Unfortunately we have seen, both nationally and locally, how common these experiences can be for people of color – at times with deadly results. For too long, relations between communities and police have been strained because of bad interactions that escalate into violent incidents. Use of force laws have not evolved, which results in many avoidable injuries and deaths and contributes to the stressed relationships.

I enthusiastically signed the petition for I-940 months ago, have contributed to the campaign, and now urge Seattle’s voters to join me in signing and supporting I-940.

I-940 takes important steps to build bridges between communities and police to make everyone safer. It does so by providing important de-escalation training, mandating first aid and independent investigations and improving our use of force language. No one is above the law, and police officers — like all of us — should be held criminally liable when their use of deadly force is not in good faith.

Solutions to these long-time injustices must be community driven and community led. It’s important to note that the marginalized people and communities most impacted by police bias are leading this initiative. I have stood with them, I stand with them now and I will stand with them as mayor.

We all know the justice system disproportionately incarcerates the young, the poor, the disabled and people of color, ruining lives and destabilizing communities. While the community is working tirelessly to stop the industrialized prison cycle, the work been severely underfunded and overlooked.

An equitable justice system will be a top priority of my administration. As mayor I will work directly with the communities leading this effort to help rebuild trust and the effectiveness of our justice system, including investing in restorative justice and diversion alternatives like those used by King County, and taking steps to fix the broken bail cycle.