Press Release



Contact: Leslie Cushman, 360-280-0087,


Use of force initiative making progress
Endorsements, Leadership, Staffing, and Funding all on the Rise.

De-Escalate Washington’s Initiative 940 steps up to the need for state-wide training for law enforcement to reduce incidents of violence and increase community safety around Washington State. The I-940 campaign is making great progress to assure it will qualify by the end of 2017.

The statewide “initiative to the legislature” requires more training on de-escalation, mental health, and first aid for officers as well as requires them to give first aid in use of force cases. It also requires independent investigations and updates the use of deadly force statute, that some have called too restrictive and others, the worst in the country.

King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg recently said that he can see no scenario where police can be held criminally liable under the current law. Both King County Sheriff candidates John Urquhart and Mitzi Johanknecht have joined the Black Law Enforcement Association of Washington and National Black Police Association in endorsing I-940. Criminal Justice Training Commission Executive Director Sue Rahr is also collaborating with campaign leadership to make Washington State a national leader in violence reduction and safety of officers and the public.

The following is an update on endorsements, leadership, funding, and staffing for De-Escalate WA’s I-940 campaign as well as quotes for a story.

  • Recent endorsements for I-940
    • Amnesty International USA
    • Asian Pacific American Coalition for Equality (APACE)
    • Asian Pacific Islander Coalition (APIC)
    • Black Law Enforcement Association of Washington (BLEA)
    • Equal Rights Washington
    • Faith Action Network
    • Martin Luther King County Labor Council
    • Real Change
    • SEIU Washington State Council
    • Solid Ground
    • Washington Bus
    • Washington State Labor Council 
  • De-Escalate Washington adds two people the campaign Leadership Team
    • Larry Shannon, Washington State Association for Justice
    • Monisha Harrell, Equal Rights Washington 
  • Campaign funding for I-940 reaches nearly $175,000
    The largest funders include:
    • The Puyallup Indian Tribe
    • SEIU Washington State Council
    • SEIU Healthcare 1199NW
    • SEIU 775
    • Not This Time Action Fund 
  • The I-940 campaign has hired three staff people, all with experience on winning statewide initiative campaigns. They include:
    • Riall Johnson, Campaign Manager
    • Gabe Meyer, Finance Director
    • Sophia Nicholson Keener, Volunteer Coordinator 
  • Quotes by I-940 Leadership:

  • “We are excited that so many people are lining up to sign Initiative 940 as well as get their networks involved to help fund the campaign. It's unfortunate that it has taken many lives to be lost to move people to action, but know that now is the time to make a change for safety, justice, and accountability.”
    • Andre Taylor, Campaign Chair and Founder of Not This Time
  • “As a tribal community living in an urban environment and having experienced the effects of police use of deadly force in our community, the Puyallup Tribe fully supports Initiative 940. This issue is greater than any one person or government, and impacts communities and people of color across the state. The Tribe is a strong supporter of law enforcement and we believe I-940 will make our communities safer for all of us. We are committed to getting this law changed and enhancing officer training and will stay at the table to make sure it is implemented and that it works.”
    • Tim Reynon, Campaign Vice Chair and Puyallup Tribal Council Member

  • “This campaign is a people-powered grassroots campaign that has a solid plan to qualify and win. I-940’s strategy is to utilize the power of volunteers as well as professionals to succeed. We are proud to have such a broad coalition of organizations standing together to build bridges, gather signatures, and give support through their extensive networks.”
    • Riall Johnson, Campaign Manager 
  • “Qualifying an initiative in Washington is expensive. Most campaigns raise the money before launching but most initiatives don’t center the people most affected by the policy change, like I-940 does. This campaign is community-led and small, medium, and large donors are all supporting the effort. We have a long way to go to reach our financial goals but every dollar counts to make sure I-940 qualifies.”
    • Gabe Meyer, Finance Director 
  • “This initiative creates policy that puts the preservation of life as the number one priority. We have worked hard to change the law in a way that is thoughtful so that both the community and law enforcement can support it. I-940 is long overdue and once we qualify, we will work with the legislature to pass it in 2018.”
    • Leslie Cushman, Policy Director 
  • “’None of us are free until all of us are free’, which is why Equal Rights Washington is excited to put our full resources behind making sure De-Escalate Washington’s Initiative 940 qualifies in 2017. It addresses a critical need in our state that will build systems for accountability and justice for all. I-940 will make all communities safer.”
    • Monisha Harrell, Campaign Leadership Team and Equal Rights WA Chair


De-Escalate Washington is a growing coalition that formed to address use of deadly force by police. The coalition includes families affected by fatal police shootings, attorneys, unions, and community organizations. The leadership team consists of: Not This Time, Latino Civic Alliance, Justice for Jackie, Puyallup Tribe, SEIU 775, SEIU 1199NW, Washington CAN, Disability Rights Washington, Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, One America, Family Advisory Council, Equal Rights Washington, and Washington State Association for Justice. 



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