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Law enforcement must protect both public safety and the rights of individuals. This is why arrests and use of force should be last resorts, not first options, for police. The ACLU-WA advocates for stronger laws regulating police use of force, alternatives to arrest and incarceration, and de-escalation practices and training. And to ensure law enforcement is accountable to the people they serve, the ACLU-WA works for greater community oversight, such as independent civilian review boards with disciplinary authority.
Change state law on prosecuting police for killings
Victory:  Spokane Police will no longer unlawfully detain immigrants
Demand justice: There must be a just response to the killing of Charleena Lyles
Know your rights:  Download our guide on what to do if you're stopped by the police

Resources

News Release, Published: 
Friday, November 20, 2009
Washington Supreme Court found (in State v. Smith) that "exigent circumstances" existed when police searched a home without a warrant and therefore the search was valid.
News Release, Published: 
Monday, November 2, 2009
Seeking to promote open government, the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington today filed a lawsuit seeking public documents about the City of Seattle's stance in contract negotiations with the Seattle Police Guild.
News Release, Published: 
Monday, December 15, 2008
In a victory for free speech rights, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found that the City of Seattle's ordinance for granting permits for parades and marches gives police too much discretion to revoke or alter permits.
News Release, Published: 
Saturday, November 15, 2008
The ACLU has asked Seattle Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske to take action to reduce unjustified arrests for obstructing a police officer, a charge that is only intended to be used on bystanders who interfere with police actions.
News Release, Published: 
Monday, October 9, 2006
The King County Council has voted to create an independent office of oversight for the Sheriff's office. It was one of several recommendations made by a blue ribbon panel that included ACLU of Washington Legislative Director Jennifer Shaw.
News Release, Published: 
Monday, June 19, 2006
Shimrote Ishaque is joining nine other citizens who have experienced stops, body searches, handcuffing, excessive force and other aggravations by customs officers - all partly due to inaccurate government records.
News Release, Published: 
Friday, August 12, 2005
In June 2005 the Tacoma City Council approved by a 6-2 vote a major reform of police accountability by establishing an independent auditor and a citizen review board. The vote culminates over two years of work by the Police Accountability Working Group, created by the Tacoma Human Rights Commission to draft a proposal for citizen oversight.
News Release, Published: 
Wednesday, June 1, 2005
Today the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that even in times of unrest, the government cannot arrest protesters simply because of their message. The ruling came in the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington's lawsuit challenging the City of Seattle's establishment and enforcement of a No Protest Zone during the meeting of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 1999.
News Release, Published: 
Wednesday, March 16, 2005
The ACLU is suing two federal agents for unlawfully imprisoning and seeking to deport an Iraqi refugee who had broken no laws.
News Release, Published: 
Tuesday, June 29, 2004
The ACLU-WA is assisting Ian Spiers, a biracial community college student who was questioned and detained by local police and a Homeland Security agent for taking photographs at the Ballard Locks.

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