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Policing

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 involving 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.
 
Cover of the wallet card: What to do if you're stopped by the police

Topic Resources

Published: 
Friday, November 18, 2011
In 2010, the ACLU of Washington was instrumental in the passage of the nation’s second “911 Good Samaritan” law. New research from the University of Washington’s Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute shows that the 911 Good Samaritan law works.
Published: 
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
On October 22, the Minority Executive Directors Coalition (MEDC) of King County presented the ACLU-WA its Founders Award for our work calling for a Department of Justice investigation of the Seattle Police Department and advocating for communities of color.
Published: 
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
The United States Supreme Court soon is going to consider a case involving warrantless use of a GPS tracking device, in a case the New York Times has called “the most important Fourth Amendment case in a decade.”
Published: 
Monday, July 18, 2011
Last May we were stunned to see video of a Seattle police officer yelling racial slurs at a Latino man lying prone on the ground and kicking him in the head while another officer stomped on his legs.  This incident was one of many that led the ACLU and 34 other organizations to ask the Department of Justice to investigate the Seattle Police Department for racially biased policing. 
Published: 
Thursday, July 14, 2011
An arbitrator this week revoked a law that strengthened Spokane’s police ombudsman powers to investigate allegations of officer misconduct independently of the police. Spokane’s Police Guild had challenged the new powers as a change in working conditions that must be negotiated with the Guild as part of its contract with the city, and the arbitrator agreed.  
Published: 
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
It is a fundamental principle of a democratic society that public employees should be held accountable for their actions. In May, a Seattle arbitrator undermined that principle by ruling that the City of Seattle’s contract with the Seattle Police Officers’ Guild requires the city to withhold the names of police officers who were disciplined for misconduct. Thankfully, City Attorney Pete Holmes has decided to challenge this decision and is fighting to keep this information public.
Published: 
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Thinking back to myself at 13 years old, I recall a constant tension between the child I was and the adult I was becoming. Now I try to picture that version of myself being pulled from a classroom and taken to a conference room where two police officers and two school administrators want to question me about a neighborhood robbery. Would I have told officers I preferred they stop questioning me?  Or that I wanted to leave?
Published: 
Thursday, June 23, 2011
For those of you who took last week’s pop quiz on street speech, you will be glad to know that some area police officers also are brushing up on free speech rights of people on sidewalks and in public plazas.
Published: 
Monday, May 2, 2011
On April 15ththe Seattle University Law School hosted a CLE (continuing legal education) concerning police accountability and police misconduct issues. All of the speakers covered topics that addressed the current climate for accountability in Seattle and across Washington state. Overall, the presentations were frank, not only in what we are facing as a community and the importance of maintaining our civil rights, but also the nuts and bolts of the law.    
Published: 
Friday, April 29, 2011
Today, two troubling news stories on medical marijuana are in the headlines in Washington. The first is the federal government's raids on medical marijuana dispensaries in Spokane. The second is Governor Gregoire's expected veto of SB 5073, the thoughtful and comprehensive medical marijuana bill passed by the state legislature with leadership from Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles and Rep. Eileen Cody.

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