Civil Survival mourns the loss of Tyre Nichols, a father, a son, a skateboarder, a photographer, but above all, a human being. We mourn the loss of another life brutally taken way too soon at the hands of police officers. A policing system that systemically subjects BIPOC communities to violence must be fundamentally rejected, and give way to a complete overhaul, or families will continue to be destroyed by practices that continue despite efforts at police reform.
Tyre Nichols’ tragic murder happened in Tennessee, but Memphis is not a world away. The same pointless violence can and has happened in Washington. In fact, police brutality has plagued our communities for years. Iosia Faletogo was killed in Seattle because he was driving a car whose owner had a suspended license. Jenoah Donald was shot in the head by a Clark County deputy over a broken taillight. Giovann Joseph-McDade was chased and gunned down over an expired registration. Manny Ellis was simply going about his evening when he was confronted by and killed by police officers.
In the wake of worldwide protests and calls for change in 2020, sparked by the deaths of George Floyd, Manuel Ellis and others, the Washington legislature passed sweeping legislation around police accountability and reform in 2021. It took less than a calendar year for them to rollback that progress, passing a bill that lowered the standard for when police can use force when stopping someone.
We are seeing the return of a tough on crime narrative. The results are increased police budgets and more bills making their way through the legislature that would create new pretexts to criminalize people. And any time we speak about criminalizing people – it always has a disproportionate impact on Black and brown communities.
We call on law enforcement, legislators, and policymakers to come together to pass reforms that will put an end to these atrocious tragedies. At this moment, several bills are working their way through the Washington legislature that attempt to interrupt the power of the police over communities. We encourage you to support these bills as we collectively continue the fight against police brutality.
- HB 1025 (creating a private right of action for harm from the violations of the state Constitution or state law by peace officers);
- HB 1177 (creating a missing and murdered indigenous women and people cold case investigations unit);
- HB 1445 (concerning law enforcement and local corrections agency misconduct through investigations and legal actions); and
- HB 1513 (improving traffic safety).
We at Civil Survival are committed to transforming the systems that have continuously failed us.
We stand with Tyre Nichols, his family, and our BIPOC communities and partners.
— Civil Survival