Police Deadly Force Bill Falters, Sponsor Not Giving Up

Feb 24, 2017

Efforts to change Washington’s police deadly force law have been dealt a setback in the state legislature. Friday a compromise measure failed to make it out of committee before a key deadline. But the sponsor remains hopeful.

Currently Washington state law protects police officers who use deadly force in good faith and without malice. Prosecutors say that standard makes it virtually impossible to charge a police officer with improper use of deadly force.

The proposal would have removed malice and redefined good faith. In a statement the sponsor, Democrat David Frockt of Seattle, said he’s disappointed. But he also acknowledged that this is a difficult issue that ignites passions on both sides.

Frockt said that while his bill failed to make it out of the Republican-controlled Senate budget committee, there’s still time to revive the issue before the end of the legislative session in April.

Democrats in the Washington House are also working on the issue of police deadly force. The chair of the House Public Safety committee has said that he’s confident of a compromise deal this year.