South Seattle march Sunday 6/7/20, photo by Mark White, mjwhitephotos.com
Since its formation nine years ago, FAN has advocated for restoring justice in the criminal justice system and for policies intended to counter the effects of centuries of racism and white supremacy in our nation. On May 30, the FAN board issued a statement deploring the latest murders of Black Americans by police and calling out for justice.
In the midst of a rapidly evolving situation related to policing and police misconduct in our cities, state, and nation, there are currently multiple opportunities to advance justice and security for African-Americans and people of color. The FAN board and staff encourages its network to seize these opportunities for advocacy and offer the following list, not intending to be comprehensive, but to lift up priorities and offer suggestions to our statewide network of faith-based advocates:
- Call for full implementation of The Law Enforcement Training and Community Safety Act (SHB 1064 adopted by the 2019 Washington State legislature) based on Initiative 940. This law requires law enforcement to undergo de-escalation training, mental health training, and amends the use of deadly force statute by defining “good faith.” The Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission has been charged with implementation of this legislation.
- As state, county and city governments cut budgets in the wake of loss of revenue due to COVID-19, urge the reallocation of funds that have been used for militarizing and expanding police forces to social, health, educational and economic programs to make our communities safer and stronger.
- Call for community-wide conversation about just and effective alternatives to the present policing model that has its roots in America’s colonial and racist past and that has failed to change despite decades of reform efforts.
- Call for change in local police strategies that confront peaceful protesters with militarized police forces and violent tactics, and support a ban on chemical weapons such as tear gas used by police in such circumstances. Support investigation of, and accountability for, the excessive force used by police in recent protests.
- At the federal level, support passage of the provisions in the Justice in Policing Act (HR7120, Rep. Karen Bass; Senator Cory Booker) including:
- a national database of excessive force incidents,
- a revised federal criminal police misconduct statute to make it easier to prosecute officers involved in misconduct,
- prohibition of choke-holds,
- an end to qualified immunity so that individuals are not barred from recovering damages when police violate their constitutional rights,
- and minimum standards for use-of-force and arrest training, frontline supervision, and internal investigations.
- At the city and county level, to ensure the accountability of local police and sheriff departments, insist that use of force incidents are properly investigated and officers held accountable. We support external, independent investigations, as in the case of Manny Ellis, Tacoma, whose death was recently revealed as a homicide under police custody.
- We call for passage of the Emmett Till Anti-lynching Act as a long overdue acknowledgment of racial terror in this country. (HR 35 Rep. Bobby Rush)
In Solidarity and Hope,