|State lawmakers weigh bills on police use of deadly forces|
Bring Justice Back to the Justice System.
We are facing a national reckoning on race and racism. The marches, rallies and protests are part of a national uprising, which will not be put down.
The Time to Act is NOW. As Chair of the House Public Safety Committee, with jurisdiction over Washington State’s criminal justice system, I am the point person in the Legislature on issues related to police accountability, police training and tactics, and police-community relations. The citizens of the 45th District and across Washington State, as well as the rest of the country and the globe are calling for fundamental change. I am prepared to take action. In fact…
I already have.
In the last few years I have led the Legislature to enact new laws that hold police accountable for unreasonable uses of deadly force, and have put in place new training focusing on recognizing implicit bias and on de-escalation. We have also put in place a new structure of independent investigations of police misconduct, so police departments cannot investigate themselves (the “fox guarding the henhouse”). In addition, we now require police to render first aid if their actions result in injury. You can download the bill here.
But our work has just begun.
Given recent events, it is painfully clear that, although Washington State has put some progressive new police accountability measures in place, there is much unfinished business and we must get back to work.
As House Public Safety Committee Chair, I am convening meetings with advocates from under-represented communities, listening to the voices of our youth, consulting with national experts on police-community relations, and communicating with sheriffs, police chiefs and police unions about needed changes. Dozens of my legislative colleagues in the House and Senate have joined me in this effort. Out of this process will emerge a concrete set of policy proposals ripe for legislative action.
A Few Good Questions.
Why is the use of tear gas ever necessary, when it is even prohibited by the conventions of war? How can we tolerate continued use of chokeholds, which have caused needless injury and death? Why are police on our streets using military vehicles and equipment? What new structures need to be in place to hold police accountable for misconduct?
We need to re-imagine public safety and consider diverting resources that now support wasteful and hurtful police practices toward behavioral health care, housing, health care, education and support for youth and community organizations.
We Can Do This.
Having already built consensus within a very diverse group of stakeholders and having fostered productive working relationships between police and under-represented communities, I am hopeful – even confident – that we will be able to find consensus on further accountability measures and other reforms.
I am passionately supporting my colleagues and the people in the streets to dismantle the structures that have allowed our institutions to treat people of color as second- and third-class citizens for generations, especially in the criminal justice system. My principal focus for many years has been bringing justice back to the justice system, which I believe is the core civil rights movement of our time.
You Can Help.
I need your inspiration and support in this effort, so please get in touch to share your thoughts and suggestions. We have the momentum and are ready to work on these critical issues!
As a white person of privilege, it is now my obligation to listen to people of color and not talk so much. I must ask Black Americans what they want and have them guide my actions, and try to imagine how they are feeling as a community that has suffered more than 400 years of discrimination, subjugation, slavery, torture and death.
Get involved — get in touch. Let’s do this!
Rated “Outstanding” from the non-partisan Municipal League of King County.
Roger is the only candidate on the Eastside to receive this highest rating.
Roger has received the Early Learning Action Alliance “Gold Crayon” Award three times (2010, 2012, 2018). From the website: “Gold Crayon Award recipients are leaders in the vanguard who champion efforts to expand access to high quality early learning opportunities. ” This is the highest award given by the Children’s Alliance. Roger is the only legislator to win multiple times.