A Year Later, Police Reform Passes in Washington

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It has now been almost a year since the murder of George Floyd which sparked protests all across the nation. These protests, which called for fundamental reforms in police departments nationwide, have had many of their demands recently met in Washington State. Governor Jay Inslee has signed several bills into law aiming to make police officers more liable for negligence while on duty as well as to get rid of harmful policing practices. One of these bills is Bill 1054 which explicitly bans the use of chokeholds and the issuance of no-knock police warrants. The bill also places more regulations on the use of tear gas by police officers.

Recent Washington police legislation bill 5066 also requires officers to intervene and prevent abuses by other officers, a policy that can prevent another tragic incident like George Floyd’s from happening. The demands of BLM protestors have partially been met on the state level, and in cities such as Seattle, the calls to defund the police have been complied with as well. Last November, Mayor Durkan cut the police budget by nearly 20% to divert to social programs. The residents of Seattle will be able to decide where to allocate a portion of these funds and the mayor has already set up commissions that have recommended the allocation of these funds to education and a slew of social programs. Even one year after George Floyd’s death and the protests that followed, local and gubernatorial politicians are working to hold police departments responsible for acts of brutality.