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Use-of-force boards staffed by folks who aren’t police? BLM group, reps say they’d help

By January 29, 2021February 13th, 2021News


Like many, Jacquelyn Harris said she was “mortified” when she saw the video from Saturday night of a Tacoma police officer hitting the gas and driving through an agitated flash-mob crowd that had gathered downtown.

As the police cruiser suddenly lurched forward, and its tires went up and over at least one person, Harris said she felt “similar feelings to (watching) the video of George Floyd.”

“Just the disregard for life — not even putting a color on it — for human life, and for safety,” Harris said of what got to her about watching the instantly viral cell phone footage.

A 59-year-old Tacoma resident, Harris is a co-founder of WA for Black Lives, an upstart statewide advocacy group that’s flexing its muscles at the state Capitol this year. Already generating press and momentum, the Black-led group is pushing a number of racial equity bills this legislative session it says would improve everything from police accountability to investments in the Black community.

One bill in particular WA for Black Lives is supporting is a proposal by State Rep. Jesse Johnson, D-Federal Way, that would require the creation of community oversight boards for local police departments.

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