Press Releases


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                            

February 19, 2018                                                                   



Contact: Leslie Cushman, Co-Chair

De-Escalate Washington 





New Poll Shows De-Escalate Washington’s Initiative 940

Carrying a 47-Point Lead


OLYMPIA—De-Escalate Washington, the political committee supporting Initiative 940, today announced results of a recent poll showing 68 percent of Washington voters support the measure and 21 percent oppose.  The poll, conducted February 8-15 by EMC Research, surveyed likely November 2018 voters and carries a statewide margin of error of +/- 3.6%.  Voters were read the ballot title that will appear on their November ballot without supporting or opposing arguments.


In Eastern Washington, 62 percent of voters support the proposal while 26 percent oppose.  In Seattle and the Greater Puget Sound region, 73 percent of voters support and 18 percent oppose.  The regional breakouts carry a margin of error of +/- 5.3%.


I-940 would require law enforcement to receive violence de-escalation and mental-health training and would amend legal standards for use of deadly force, adding an objective “good faith” standard and requiring independent investigation.  According to data compiled by The Washington Post, Washington ranked fifth of the fifty states in number of people fatally shot by police in 2017 and twelfth in per capita rate.  Nationwide, mental illness played a role in a quarter of the incidents.


The Secretary of State certified I-940 to the legislature on January 23.  The Senate Law & Justice Committee and House Public Safety Committee will conduct a joint hearing on the measure in Olympia Tuesday at 7:00 p.m.  The legislature can pass I-940 into law, pass an alternative measure, or take no action.  If it takes no action, I-940 will go onto the November 2018 general election ballot.  If it passes an alternative, both I-940 and the alternative will go onto the ballot.





Media Advisory

January 23, 2018

Contact:   Leslie Cushman



Supporters of I-940 Prepare for Election Campaign Following Certification of Measure to Reduce Police Violence

OLYMPIA—Supporters of Initiative 940, which would require additional police training and improve accountability in fatal police shootings, today celebrated certification of the measure after verification of more than 350,000 petition signatures submitted to the Secretary of State. With certification, the initiative is referred to the State legislature for consideration. The House and Senate can pass the initiative, propose an alternative policy, or take no action, which would result in I-940 moving on to the November ballot.

“This is a great day for the more than 350,000 Washington voters who signed on to support de-escalation of police violence in our communities,” said Tim Reynon, Puyallup Tribal Council Member and a spokesperson for I-940. “The outpouring of support for this measure from across the state reflects a strong desire to protect families from unnecessary tragedy, and to better equip law enforcement to reduce use of force deaths and strenghten trust with their communities.”

Marilyn Covarrubias, whose unarmed son Daniel was killed by Lakewood police in April 2015, spent many hours volunteering to help I-940 qualify for the ballot. “The opportunity to make sure other families don't have to go through what our family went through is what keeps me going. I really believe we can do better and changing the law is the first step.”

Supporters, including a broad coalition of directly-impacted families and social justice, civil liberties, community, labor, and law enforcement reform advocates, understand that legislative action seems unlikely in a short session with a heavy agenda and are preparing for an electoral campaign.

“This effort has been a labor of love for many volunteers who have seen first-hand the damage done in their communities by unnecessary loss of life. We came together and vowed to ‘do the work’ to stop it. Changing the legal framework for police use of deadly force is an important part of the solution, and today marks a major milestone toward that goal,” said Andrè Taylor. Taylor and his wife Dove founded the community organization Not This Time in 2016, shortly after his brother Che Taylor was killed in a police shooting.



Media Advisory 


December 27, 2017

Contact:    Leslie Cushman




De-Escalate Washington to File Signature Petitions for I-940

Measure would promote public safety, community trust in law enforcement

De-Escalate Washington, the sponsors of Initiative 940 (I-940), will file signature petitions at the Washington Secretary of State’s Elections Division (520 Union Ave. SE in Olympia) tomorrow, December 28, at 1:00 pm. Campaign supporters will gather at the United Churches of Olympia (11011 Ave. SE) at 11:30 am and will begin marching to the Elections Division office together with families of victims of police violence at 12:30 pm.


I-940 would require law enforcement to receive violence de-escalation and mental health training, and would reform the state’s criminal liability standard for the use of deadly force to require officers to act in good faith.


“We would like to thank the many volunteers and the campaign staff who have worked for months across the state to bring this issue before the legislature,” said Nina Martinez, chair of the Latino Civic Alliance and member of De-Escalate Washington's leadership team. “Today is an important step in the effort to reduce violence in our communities.”


“Action on this issue is long overdue, and I give my heartfelt thanks to the hundreds of thousands of Washington voters who have sought action by signing petitions for I-940,” said Annalesa Thomas, the mother of Leonard Thomas who was killed by police in 2013. “Their engagement is providing healing and empowerment to the family members of loved ones whose lives were lost due to police violence.”


To qualify I-940 for consideration during the 2018 state legislative session, De-Escalate Washington must submit 259,622 valid signatures.  De-Escalate Washington intends to submit more than 355,000 signatures.


Once the Secretary of State certifies a qualifying number of valid signatures, the initiative will be referred to the Washington Legislature for consideration during its 2018 session. If the legislature does not pass I-940, the measure will go onto the November 2018 general election ballot.


Supporters of I-940 will speak before the signatures are submitted, including:

  • Lisa Earl and James Rideout, the mother and uncle of Jackie Salyers;
  • Uyen Le and Xuyen Le, the aunts of Tommy Le;
  • Marilyn Covarrubias, the mother of Daniel Covarrubias; and
  • Katrina Johnson, the cousin of Charleena Lyles.


More information about I-940 is available at 





Media Advisory



Contact:           Leslie Cushman, De-Escalate Washington Policy Director




Location:          Cal Anderson Park, 1635 11th Ave, Seattle, WA 

Time:               12/10/17   1pm



Building Bridges, Call to Action Rally – De-Escalate Washington


Seattle, WA -  De-Escalate Washington will hold a count-down and push to the finish line rally on Sunday December 101h at 1:00PM at Cal Anderson Park.  The rally will kick off the final push for signature gathering for I-940.   

To be certified by the Secretary of State the campaign must collect 259,622 valid signatures from Washington state registered voters.  The signatures must be turned in by 5 p.m. on December 29th.  Already over 281,000 signatures have been collected.  We will continue to collect signatures to the last second.  Our goal is to deliver 350,000 signatures to guarantee that we qualify and to send a strong message to the legislature of the broad public support.  This is a grass roots campaign and we are working with communities and organizations across the State to get this done.

 The rally will include participation from the Tribal community, speakers from organizations who have endorsed the initiative, members of the De-Escalate Campaign leadership team, and representatives of families who have lost loved ones to police violence. 

 Speakers include Fe Lopez representing OneAmerica, Linh Thai on behalf of the Vietnamese Leadership Institute, Cynthia Softli, President of the Black Law Enforcement Association, Andre Taylor founder of Not This Time, Tim Reynon Puyallup Tribal Councilmember, Mike Denton, Conference Minister of the Pacific Northwest Conference of the United Church of Christ, Chester Earl representing Justice for Jackie, and Kim Mosolf, on behalf of Disability Rights Washington. Also speaking is Ali Lee Be the Change Network, Patricia Whitefoot, Nina Martinez Chair of the Latino Civic Alliance,  Aaron Ostrom Executive Director for Fuse Washington, Former Seattle City councilwoman and Progress Alliance Program director Kirsten Harris-Talley, Tony Benjamin former Seattle Seahawk, Treasure Mackley with Planned Parenthood, Pastor Anderson First AME Church, Seattle Indivisible Kati Wilkins, Cathy Munson Coalition manager with Alliance for Gun Responsibility, Nina Wallace communications coordinator Densho, and Joseph Lechman Japanese American Citizens League (JACL).

 Other persons and organizations that will be participating that day will be SEIU 925, Coalition for the Homeless, Washington CAN, Jeanne McMinds Jackson, Amnesty International, Asian Counseling and Referral Service (ACRS), Indivisible’s Tae Phoenix, Tommy Sound Studios, Moh Kilani, John Danoso, and many more. Please check in to our Facebook page, De-Escalate Washington, and we will give updates as more people confirm to take part in our Day of Action. 

 I-940 addresses use of force by law enforcement and puts a priority on violence de-escalation and mental health training, and adds significant accountability measures.  This is the time to recast and reform the policies, the training, the expectations for policing and police interaction with our rich and diverse communities.

 The public is encouraged to attend the rally and sign I-940 as well as come get petitions to take back to neighborhoods and communities.

 Note: Sign language and some interpreters will be at the event and a section for those who need an assisted area.


WHAT:                         De-Escalate Washington Building Bridges, Call to Action


WHO:                          De-Escalate Washington leadership, supporters, families, and allies

WHEN:                        Sunday, December 10, 1 p.m.

WHERE:                       Cal Anderson Park, Seattle






Media Advisory




Contacts:  Riall Johnson, De-Escalate Washington Campaign Manager


               Andre’ Taylor, Not this Time and Chair of De-Escalate Washington


Location: Seattle City Hall Main Lobby, 600 4th Ave.

Time:       11/17/17, 11 am



Message to SPD –  Fundamental Change is Needed


Seattle, WA -  De-Escalate Washington and Not This Time will hold a joint press conference Friday November 17th, to respond to the SPD Force Review Board finding regarding officer response to Charleena Lyles.  Ms. Lyles was killed on June 18th of this year.


De-Escalate Washington is a state-wide campaign gathering signatures for Initiative 940. 

I—940 will require a priority on violence de-escalation and mental health training, will require first aid be rendered on the scene, mandates completely independent investigations, and requires the involvement of Tribes and diverse community stakeholders.  I-940 sets a new benchmark for best practices and professionalism.  This is the time to recast and reform the policies, the training, the expectations for policing and police interaction with our rich and diverse communities.


The public is encouraged to attend this press conference to support the movement to bring more training to Washington law enforcement and make our communities safer.



WHAT:         De-Escalate Washington and Not This Time Respond to Seattle Police Department Force Review Board


WHO:           De-Escalate Washington leadership, Not This Time, families, and allies

When:          Friday, November 17, 2017, 11 am

Where:         Seattle City Hall; Main Lobby





Contact: Riall Johnson
Phone: 650-520-8397

The Thomas Family tells their story of loss and police violence in the De-Escalate Washington Campaign’s first video launch

Seattle, WA - In May 2015, Washington state resident, Leonard Thomas, was shot to death by police in front of his own home while holding his four-year-old son in his arms. Today, for the first time, his family is sharing their story on camera and calling for more police training and accountability to help saves lives.

“They absolutely escalated a situation far beyond what it needed to be,” Annalesa Thomas, mother of Leonard, shares in the video. “I called the police simply because my son had been drinking and he was off his bipolar medicine… My expectation was that a couple officers would come… We had 29 officers on scene. We had a SWAT vehicle in our front yard and a SWAT vehicle in our backyard.”




De-Escalate Washington is gathering signatures for Initiative I-940. The initiative would require law enforcement to receive violence de-escalation and mental-health training, require independent investigation of police use of deadly force, and remove our state’s de facto immunity from prosecution when police kill people.

To build bridges between communities and police, text to GIVE at 206-202-0461 to make a donation.

If you would like to help make everyone safer in Washington, please donate here, forward this email to five friends, share this video on your Facebook page, and re-tweet this on Twitter.

Please contact Riall Johnson, Campaign Manager at 650-520-8397 or with endorsement, partnership, or press-related questions.





Contact: Riall Johnson

Phone: 650-520-8397


De-Escalate Washington Campaign Supports the Seattle Seahawks - Put Justice First and Save Lives.

Seattle, WA -  The De-Escalate Washington Leadership Team supports the decision of the Seahawks to sit out the national anthem.  Many in the Leadership Team are staunch Seattle Seahawks fans.  Our Campaign Manager, Riall Johnson, played professional football for nine years.   We back the continued efforts to put justice first.

I-940 supporters include men and women connected to the armed services, either as veterans or currently serving, and they have told us that they serve to protect our freedoms, including freedom of speech.

These protests began as a response to police violence.   De-Escalate Washington’s goal is to change the culture of policing, reduce violence, and save lives.  

The campaign is gathering signatures for Initiative 940, which will require violence de-escalation and mental health training for all officers.  The objective is better trained officers and safer communities.  James Rideout, Puyallup Tribal Councilman, lost his niece to police violence and has dedicated countless hours on this issue, says “We’ll never see justice for our loved ones. But preservation of life is our goal.”

Marilyn Covarrubias’ son Daniel was killed by Lakewood Police in 2015, and has been very public about the impact police violence has on families.  “We want to be able to trust the police again.”  Covarrubias wants better training.  “I feel that proper training will give police the tools to interact with human beings in a more compassionate manner,” she said.

Thirty-one people have been killed this year in Washington State, with 19 alone since June.  In all of 2016, there were 29 people killed by police in our state.  This summer, the Campaign grieved along with the nation when Charleena Lyles was killed at the hands of the Seattle Police Department, with her children at her side.  “We need Initiative 940 passed to ensure my cousin Charleena Lyles didn’t die in vain!” said Katrina Johnson.  

The NFL players are raising awareness to something that is much too real for families who have lost loved ones.  Michael Bennett’s own experience with police violence in Las Vegas makes his participation, and his support of Charleena Lyle’s children, even more compelling.

None of us are just bystanders.  We urge everyone, individuals and politicians, to take the next step, sign the petition and volunteer for the campaign.

Let’s put justice first and save lives.






Contact: Riall Johnson

Phone: 650-520-8397



De-Escalate Washington Campaign Coming to Eastern Washington


Yakima, WA -  The De-Escalate Washington Campaign will hold community meetings in Eastern Washington on September 22, 23, and 24.  Meetings will be held Friday night in Yakima, Saturday afternoon in Pasco, and Sunday afternoon in Spokane. 


Families from Justice for Jackie and Justice for Daniel will be participating and they invite community members to attend.  These families were brought together at the toughest time, and they are working together to make our communities safer.  The families have endorsed Initiative 940. They encourage everyone to come tell their stories and discuss how our communities are affected. Others from the De-Escalate Washington Campaign will be present, including Latino Civic Alliance, One America, the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, and the Puyallup Tribe of Indians.


Initiative 940 is a state-wide initiative. It requires state-wide training for violence de-escalation, mental health, and first aid, and that police must render first aid, it defines the good faith standard for officer use of deadly force, requires independent investigations, brings diverse community stakeholders to the table, and includes Tribes in investigations. 


There have been twenty-nine people killed by police in Washington State to date in 2017. Twenty-nine people were killed by police in Washington State in all of 2016.  The message we are delivering is that we all have a role in this work and together we can reform the system.  The public is encouraged to attend to meet these families and other Campaign leadership and learn how to participate in the De-Escalate Washington Campaign.



Community Meetings on De-Escalate Washington



Families and Campaign leadership will be present to answer questions



Yakima, Friday, September 22nd 6pm

Yakima Community College

S. 16th Ave and Nob Hill Blvd

Deccio Building Parker Conference Room


Pasco, Saturday, September 23rd, 1pm

Community Unitarian Universalist Church

2819 West Sylvester Street


Spokane, Sunday, September 24th, 2pm

Unitarian Universalist Church

4340 W. Fort Wright Dr.





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. 







Contact: Leslie Cushman, 360-280-0087,





6-20-17.  De-Escalate WA, a growing coalition of families affected by fatal police shootings, organizations, Tribes, and advocates, has been working for the past 18 months to consider state-wide policing standards that would make our communities safer and stronger.


The fatal shooting of Charleena Lyles on Sunday underscores the urgency of our efforts to bring community and law enforcement together and work towards a solution that will make everyone in Washington safer, including: all people of color, people dealing with mental health conditions, people with disabilities, Native Americans, immigrants, refugees, LGBTQ individuals, youth, formerly incarcerated persons, people with low-incomes, and all who work in law enforcement.


De-Escalate WA will hold a press conference in the coming weeks to launch a state-wide initiative that begins to address these issues.


We send our deepest sympathy to the family of Charleena Lyles.


Andre Taylor, Not This Time (Chair)

Tim Reynon, Puyallup Tribal Council Member (Vice-Chair)

Heather Villanueva, SEIU 775 (Exec At-Large Member)

Chester Earl, Justice for Jackie (Exec At-Large Member)

Kim Mosolf, Disability Rights Washington (Secretary)

Leslie Cushman, Attorney (Policy Chair)

Nina Martinez, Latino Civic Alliance

Loretta Gutierrez-Sacks, Coalition of Black Trade Unionists

Lisa Daugaard, Attorney

Chris Lampkin, SEIU 1199NW

Fe Lopez, One America

Xochitl Maykovich, Washington CAN