ACLU-WA Statement on House Bill 2037

News Release: 
Saturday, February 12, 2022
OLYMPIA — Today, the Washington State House of Representatives passed House Bill 2037, a bill that expands law enforcement’s ability to use physical force. Enoka Herat, police practices and immigration counsel at the ACLU of Washington, had the following statement:

“Just as with the Senate’s passing of Senate Bill 5919, we’re disappointed to see the House pass House Bill 2037. If either of these bills are enacted, they will harm the very communities the Legislature committed to protect last year when it passed 12 bills aimed at police accountability and reform. Like SB 5919, HB 2037 lowers the standard for when an officer can use physical force, requiring just a little more than a hunch someone was involved in wrongdoing. This standard is dangerous and will harm young people, communities of color, and people with disabilities who are already disproportionately impacted by police violence.

Efforts to roll back last year’s critical reform bills have been made without input from communities. They give officers more power to harm people without giving victims of police violence the tools they need to hold officers accountable for misconduct. These bills are a step backward from the progress that was made last year when, following the enactment of House Bill 1310, Washington had a 62% decrease in police killings. The Legislature must reject efforts to roll back last year’s reforms and focus instead on strengthening them. We are once again calling on lawmakers to make good faith clarifications to those reforms, not overhaul them. House Bill 2037, Senate Bill 5919, HB 1788 and any other bill in the Legislature that expands police powers will only bring the state back to the previous unacceptable status quo.”

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