House unanimously approves bill revising Initiative 940

It clears up language in the measure which deals with use of deadly force by law enforcement.

OLYMPIA — The state House on Thursday unanimously approved changes to Initiative 940, the measure voters passed last November that could make it easier to prosecute police officers for negligent shootings.

Lawmakers passed House Bill 1064 containing revisions agreed upon by sponsors of the initiative, De-Escalate Washington, and representatives of law enforcement groups that opposed it. It is pretty much the same bill the two sides worked on last year but was struck down by the state Supreme Court because of a procedural technicality.

One change makes clear an officer will not face criminal liability if he or she acted in “good faith.” Under this standard, a prosecutor would consider “all the facts, circumstances, and information known to the officer at the time” and determine whether another officer in a similar situation would have believed the use of deadly force was necessary.

Other revisions deal with the curricula for de-escalation training and an officer’s duty to render first aid.

The bill now goes to the Senate for its expected passage as early as next week.

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