26 Jun: WA-AG B Ferguson: We demand a justice system that works for us. Black Lives Matter

* Bob Ferguson, Washington Attorney General
* 26 Jun: WA-AG B Ferguson: We demand a justice system that works for us. Black Lives Matter
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From: ATG WWW Email AGO temporary [mailto:emailago2@ATG.WA.GOV]
Sent: Friday, June 26, 2020 6:41 PM
Date: Fri, 26 Jun 2020 16:41:10 +0000
Delivery-date: Fri, 26 Jun 2020 18:42:02 +0200
Delivered-To: mcveigh2020@tygae.org.za
Subject: Correspondence Regarding: We demand a justice system that works for us. Black Lives Matter
Message-ID: <MW2PR0901MB38172D9ABDB78EAFD8753329DE930@MW2PR0901MB3817.namprd09.prod.outlook.com>

Dear Constituent:

Racism is a destructive force that impacts every element of society, from access to economic opportunity to the ability to pursue routine tasks without fearing for one’s safety.  Indeed, racism is a public health emergency that has cost us too many lives. Systemic change is necessary.

I have proposed statewide reforms addressing the criminal justice system and other systems plagued by disproportionate harm to disenfranchised communities. These efforts include:

  • My office helped pass rules requiring completely independent investigations into all incidents where law enforcement uses deadly force or substantially injures another Washingtonian. The rules require at least two community representative be appointed to participate in these investigations, including interviewing and vetting every member of the investigative team;
  • In the 2020 legislative session, my office proposed and successfully passed legislation abolishing youth solitary confinement in Washington State;
  • In response to an increase in reported hate crimes and a legislative mandate, my office convened a Hate Crimes Working Group to improve the state’s response to hate crimes. We will be publishing recommendations to combat hate crimes by the end of the month; and
  • My office launched a sweep against housing providers discriminating against Washingtonians with blanket prohibitions against anyone with any criminal background, including misdemeanors more than a decade old.

There is a lot of work yet to do. We will be considering a number of major criminal justice reforms as part of our 2021 legislative priorities. We will continue leading the effort to abolish Washington’s racially-biased death penalty. We plan to work closely with Black communities and other communities of color advocating for anti-racist policies to reform our system and promote social justice and equity.

Importantly, given the issues you raise, my office does not oversee the courts, and we do not oversee state or local police or law enforcement agencies. Only the State Legislature can change state laws around our criminal justice system.

My office is committed to honoring the truth that until Black Lives Matter, there can be no justice. Thank you for advocating to advance this vision, and let us work together to bring about change.

Sincerely,

BOB FERGUSON

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