The King County Council unanimously passed a proposal Monday ensuring public defenders are made available to the families of people killed in officer-involved shootings during the inquest process.
Supporters hope Initiative 940 will change Washington state policy so fatal police shootings happen less often and so there’s more accountability when they occur. Gathering on a few Seattle City Hall steps Friday, a crowd representing 33 different families impacted by police killings gathered in support of I-940 in the hopes of preventing future deaths.
The Puget Sound region witnessed a slew of police killings in the past year: Renee Davis Oct. 21, 2016, Jacqueline Salyers on Jan. 28, Daniel Covarrubias in April, Tommy Le June 13, Charleena Lyles June 18, Giovonn Joseph-McDade June 24. All of them were people of color. Salyers, Davis and Lyles were all pregnant when killed.
“What else did we think would come with this when the police are investigating themselves,” asked Katrina Johnson, Lyles’ cousin. “They keep killing people and getting away with it.”
After a legal victory by activist group Ending the Prison Industrial Complex against the funding calculation of King County’s Children and Family Justice Center, construction at the 12th Ave project is still fully underway.
“There’s what we think should be happening and then there’s what appears to be happening and they’re not the same,” said EPIC’s attorney Knoll Lowney.