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House unanimously passes revisions to I-940, police use of deadly force

OLYMPIA, Wash. — The Washington House of Representatives has unanimously approved revisions to Initiative 940, the measure voters passed last November that would make it easier to prosecute police officers for negligent shootings.

The vote came Thursday on a bill that aims to restore legislation struck down by the state Supreme Court. Last year, lawmakers tried to approve Initiative 940 with changes sought by both activists and police groups. The court rejected that and placed the original measure on the ballot, and voters approved it.

The police groups and the initiative’s sponsor, De-Escalate Washington, had agreed to work together during this legislative session to restore the changes, which state that to be protected from criminal liability, the use of deadly force by an officer must be in good faith, considering the circumstances and whether a reasonable officer would have believed it necessary.

Other changes require the state to reimburse an officer for legal fees if the officer is acquitted and alter the language concerning an officer’s duty to render first aid.

The Senate will consider a companion measure.

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