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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: 
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.
News Release, Published: 
Friday, November 7, 2003
From the vantage point of almost two decades of observation, and countless meetings with local officials and their staff, the single most important overriding message I would like to leave with you is the following: "stop the giveaways." By this I mean, the City should stop giving away in the collective bargaining process the public’s ability to establish a stronger and more effective police accountability system.
News Release, Published: 
Wednesday, September 10, 2003
In a first-in-the-nation case, the Washington Supreme Court today unanimously ruled that police must obtain a warrant in order to track an individual's movements by Global Positioning Systems (GPS). The ruling agrees with the contentions of an amicus brief submitted in the case by the American Civil Liberties Union.
News Release, Published: 
Monday, October 28, 2002
In settlement of a lawsuit brought by the ACLU, the Seattle Police Department (SPD) has agreed to improve its policies for handling requests for documents by the public. The ACLU sued the SPD in 2001 for violating the state Public Disclosure Act by failing to disclose a key document relating to police enforcement of the City's "no protest zone" during the World Trade Organization demonstrations in 1999.
News Release, Published: 
Monday, June 24, 2002
Under pressure from civil libertarians, the Washington State Patrol has suspended searching randomly selected cars of people seeking to board state ferries. While the state patrol had claimed the searches were voluntary, motorists who did not consent to the arbitrary searches were prevented from boarding the boat.
News Release, Published: 
Wednesday, January 30, 2002
Recommendations to our City Leaders for Contract Negotiations with Seattle Police Officers Guild
News Release, Published: 
Monday, December 31, 2001
The ACLU is working with attorneys around the state to develop constitutional challenges to a new statute that unfairly punishes car owners for actions by others. An amendment to state law adopted in 1998 authorizes police to impound for 30 to 90 days vehicles driven by a person with a suspended license - even if the driver doesn't own the car.
News Release, Published: 
Monday, November 20, 2000
As we approach the anniversary of WTO and a new series of rallies, the City of Seattle needs to show that it has learned the right lessons from last year's demonstrations.

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