Initiative seeks de-escalation training for police

KING 5's Lori Matsukawa reports.

A coalition of groups affected by police shootings is pushing a statewide initiative to require de-escalation training among officers.

Initiative 940 would require police to be trained to de-escalate volatile situations in order to avoid the use of deadly force. It would also require police to provide mental health intervention and provide first aid on the spot.

Charleena Lyles was shot last month by Seattle police officers responding to a burglary call at her apartment. Officers knew she had mental health issues and said she threatened them with a knife.

"Instead of kill, shoot first, let's de-escalate first.  Let's see if we can disarm her first, not kill her," said Lyles' aunt, Tonya Isabell.

The coalition claims many of the victims of police shootings are minorities or those with mental health issues. They believe there needs to be an independent, community-based investigation, separate from the police departments.

Puyallup Tribal Councilmember Tim Raymond told a crowd of supporters gathered at Seattle City Hall the initiative would benefit all groups involved.

"The initiative will strengthen the community's relationships with the officers and enhance their skills, so they can keep themselves safe while protecting the public," he said.

Organizers need to collect 340,000 signatures to get the initiative on the ballot. 

© 2017 KING-TV


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