City Council votes on public drug use ban: If the Council adopts the ban today, then they will empower Republican City Attorney Ann Davison to prosecute public use and possession of drugs as a gross misdemeanor punishable by six months in jail for the first two offenses and just shy of a year for the third. Since the last time the bill went before the Council in June, Mayor Bruce Harrell promised a sub work group to look at structuring diversion programs for people struggling with addiction, but that never happened.
Trial starts for three Tacoma cops charged with murder: According to the Associated Press, prosecutors say Manuel "Manny" Ellis, a 33-year-old Black man, died in March 2020 after the actions of Matthew Collins, Christopher Burbank, and Timothy Rankine. Pierce County Superior Court scheduled the trial's opening statements for Oct 2.
Here's how you can support the family of Manuel Ellis during the trial... pic.twitter.com/7Ie1JEYbUG— Tacoma Action Collective (@tacoma_action) September 18, 2023
The circumstances of Ellis's death mirror those surrounding the killing of George Floyd two months later, including multiple witnesses capturing the killing on video. The probable cause statement describes an unprovoked, brutal attack by Collins and Burbank against an unarmed Ellis. Ellis begged for help and said he couldn't breathe. When Rankine arrived, he sat on the handcuffed Ellis's back. The cops later hogtied Ellis and put a spit hood on him. Paramedics declared him dead on scene. Investigators noted throughout the probable cause statement that Tacoma police officers refused to be interviewed by Washington State Patrol or the Attorney General's Office.
Seattle Police Department will review a policy that allows police union officials to participate in the investigation of the cops the union represents, according to the Seattle Times. The review comes after Seattle Police Officers Guild Vice President Daniel Auderer helped to determine whether Officer Kevin Dave was intoxicated when he hit and killed 23-year-old Jaahnavi Kandula. Video of Auderer laughing about Kandula's death went viral.
Seattle Public Schools board member wants to end the schools-to-prison pipeline. SPS school board director Michelle Sarju represents most southeast Seattle schools. She called out the district for disciplining Black boys at a rate "roughly four times greater" than the rest of the district's children, according to KOMO. She's overhauling the discipline appeal council so members reflect the children getting sent before it.
Laugh at a free-market hypocrite, but also learn a little something about WA Cares. Rich advises right-wing lobbyist Elizabeth Hovde not to throw a fundraiser for your hospital bills if you later want to smack down public health benefits.
Free snow shovels! Seattleites can sign up for free shovels and actually shovel their walks this year to "help seniors and people with mobility challenges," according to the Seattle Times. DO IT!
Today's weather: Should be partly cloudy with a high of 67 degrees but not a ton of rain in the area. Perfect day for city workers to protest for cost-of-living raises. Follow Hannah for more on that.
Wait, real quick, back to drugs: The Marysville City Council will consider using mandatory jail sentences and three-strike laws for drug use, according to the Everett Herald. Marysville Mayor Jon Nehring collaborated on the proposed bill with the city's chief of police. Nehring talked about how his dumb law will "send a message" to people committing low-level crime. Yeah, you're really breaking some new ground here, Nehring.
Those whose public safety solution is to “lock more people up” rarely explain how. Every part of our system, from courts to jails, is stretched beyond capacity. Public defenders are the latest justice system partners to push their breaking points. My oped:https://t.co/4pfYas1wmp— Girmay Zahilay (@GirmayZahilay) September 18, 2023
Meanwhile, California actually breaks new ground: Last week, the state's lawmakers expanded the definition of those who can be committed to a hospital for treatment to include people with a "severe substance use disorder," according to the LA Times. Some worry the new law may exhaust mental health resources in the state and won't be as effective as hoped. But the definition change comes alongside billions in funding for the state's mental health services.
ICYMI: Five Americans return from Iran: As part of a prisoner swap, Iran freed five Americans who returned by plane Monday night, according to the New York Times. Iran had detained the five people on spying charges. America also freed five Iranians and released about $6 billion in frozen Iranian funds.
Canada thinks India killed Sikh leader on Canadian soil: The two countries threw out one another's diplomats after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau accused the Indian government of orchestrating the assassination of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a "Sikh separatist leader," according to the Washington Post. India denied the accusation.
One more reason to exit the bad app: Elon Musk plans to start making all users of x.com pay "a small monthly fee," according to Politico. Making people pay is his "only defense" against the bots, he said.
FOUND: The military found the debris from the expensive jet they needed help recovering. The stealth-capable F-35 fighter jet eluded the US military after the pilot needed to eject and parachuted into a random South Carolina neighborhood Sunday. The Associated Press said the military has dealt with three events in the past six weeks where damages have "reached $2.5 million or more."
United Auto Workers may expand strike: UAW shut down plants in Michigan, Ohio, and Missouri Thursday as 12,700 autoworkers went on strike last Thursday. UAW President Shawn Fain promised more worker strikes if contract negotiations didn't see real progress by Friday at noon, according to NBC News.
Might be a little on the nose for this week, but Anjimile just released their album "The King," which combines fairytale vibes with political messaging in a way that really speaks to me today. Have a good week folks.