Just before the election, Washington Senator Patty Murray endorsed statewide Initiative 873, which would change Washington's extreme law on police killings—the law that makes it virtually impossible to prosecute officers who unjustly kill. The law includes an unusual clause requiring prosecutors to prove an officer acted out of "malice"—an insurmountable burden, according to Snohomish County prosecutor Mark Roe.
On Tuesday, Murray's office sent me this statement expanding on her reasons for the endorsement:
I am proud to stand with so many others in our communities in strong support of Initiative 873. As a mother and grandmother, it’s been heartbreaking to see so many families being torn apart by police shootings. And these tragedies are only made worse by a law that effectively undermines accountability and prevents justice from being done. We know the vast majority of police officers are doing the right thing and putting their lives on the line every day to protect our families and communities, but we need to be honest that there are some serious systemic problems in our justice system that need to be addressed, and passing this initiative would be a good step in the right direction.
Seahawks defense linesman Michael Bennett has also endorsed the initiative, even urging the audience at a rally last month to pass around a pen. Other endorsers include Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, The Seattle Police Department, Congresswoman-elect Pramila Jayapal, and Seattle City Council members Lorena González and Kshama Sawant. The initiative has collected at least 115,000 signatures, according to campaigner Andre Taylor, but needs more than twice that from registered voters in Washington by the end of the year to qualify for the 2017 ballot.
Initiative 873 can be signed at the weekly Wednesday 6 p.m. meetings of Not This Time, the nonprofit founded by Andre Taylor.