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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 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

Published: 
Friday, December 16, 2011
I returned, very happily, from the Department of Justice press conference this morning. The DOJ’s in-depth report confirms what the ACLU has been saying and what many people of color and others have experienced – that the Seattle Police Department has engaged in a pattern and practice of excessive use of force.
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: 
Monday, October 17, 2011
Public photography regrettably has become a suspect activity in the minds of some officials. Back in 2007, the ACLU-WA successfully advocated for a man whom Seattle police arrested for taking photos of police making an arrest near 2nd & Pike downtown.
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: 
Thursday, August 11, 2011
On the heels of Seattle Weekly reporter Nina Shapiro’s in-depth examination of the Border Patrol’s aggressive tactics on the Olympic Peninsula (“Twilight for Immigrants”) comes a revelation that sheds light on the troubling situation. In a follow-up story, Shapiro reports about a Border Patrol whistleblower who has come forward to assert that BP agents don’t have meaningful work to do far from our northern border. 
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?

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