Washington State residents launch ballot initiative to restore police ability to pursue criminal suspects

"This man committed many other serious crimes and fled in stolen vehicles knowing he would get away with it because the police can't pursue him."

Ari Hoffman Seattle WA
On Thursday, citizen action group Let's Go Washington turned in over 400,000 signatures to the Washington Secretary of State’s office, hoping to put Initiative 2113 on the ballot to restore the ability for police to pursue suspects.

Initiatives in the Evergreen State are required to gather 325,000 verified signatures to qualify for the ballot.

At an event in Shoreline to mark the achievement, Amber Goldade, the mother of 12-year-old Immaculee Goldade, who was killed in 2022 after being hit in Parkland by the driver of a stolen truck while walking home with a friend, said, "This man committed many other serious crimes and fled in stolen vehicles knowing he would get away with it because the police can't pursue him."

She noted, while testifying earlier this year at the House Community Safety, Justice and Reentry Committee, that her daughter was a victim of the state's pursuit law. She added that the driver, who was later found guilty of numerous felonies, including fleeing the scene, and sentenced to 40 years in prison, had fled from police weeks before in another stolen vehicle. She said that if officers had been allowed to pursue him, he might have been apprehended and her daughter would still be alive. "This man is just one of many criminals who have figured out how to get away with crime by using the no-pursuit law to their advantage."

The initiative would restore state policy regarding a police officer's ability to pursue criminal suspects based on a "reasonable suspicion.”

In response to the George Floyd riots which rocked the state in 2020, the Democratic-controlled Legislature enacted HH 1054, which required "probable cause," making it so that unless police witnessed a crime, they could not pursue suspects. The bill also prohibited most vehicular pursuits, and suspects have even called 911 to tell dispatchers to have the police back off because of the law while being pursued by the police.

On Tuesday, Let’s Go Washington turned in over 420,000 signatures hoping to qualify for an initiative to protect parental rights for the 2024 ballot.

In November, the group submitted over 400,000 signatures for Initiative 2117 to repeal Washington’s cap-and-trade system, which has spiked gas and utility prices.

According to the organization, the three initiatives are part of a slate of six to “Fix What’s Broken in Washington and be a voice for positive change in our beautiful state!”

The three other initiatives still gathering signatures seek to repeal a capital gains tax, prohibit a state income tax, and allow people to opt out of a long-term care tax.

Washington state Democrats, terrified of the initiatives reversing their legislative "wins," have teamed up with the American Civil Liberties Union to attempt to intimidate signature gatherers, from creating a “hotline to report signature gatherers” to calling the initiative efforts “...the MAGA GOP’s extreme ballot measures."

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