By TJ MARTINELL | THE CENTER SQUARE
Voter advocacy group Let’s Go Washington announced it has collected enough signatures to put Initiative 2113 on the ballot, which would restore the state’s policy regarding police pursuits.
The organization submitted the signatures to the Secretary of State’s office in Tumwater this month at an event in Shoreline marking the occasion hosted by the mother of Immaculee Goldade, who was killed earlier this year, and Mike Dunn, owner of Dunn Lumber.
Twelve-year-old Immaculee Goldade was killed in January 2022 after being hit in Parkland by a driver inside a stolen truck. A friend of hers was also struck while they were walking together near Midland Elementary School but survived after being hospitalized.
The driver was later found guilty of numerous felonies, including fleeing the scene, and sentenced to 40 years in prison.
I-2113 would effectively restore state policy regarding a police officer’s ability to pursue criminal suspects. Prior to 2021, officers needed “reasonable suspicion” to pursue. That year, the state Legislature enacted HH 1054, which required “probable cause,” effectively stipulating that unless the officer directly witnessed a crime occur, they could not pursue. That same bill also prohibited most vehicular pursuits, a fact some criminal suspects have told 9-11 dispatchers while being pursued by police.
Let’s Go Washington founder Brian Heywood of Redmond told Glen Morgan of We the Governed in a video interview that “what they [state Legislature] did with the original law was they flipped everything on its head.”
While testifying earlier this year in front of the House Community Safety, Justice and Reentry Committee, Amber Goldade said her daughter was a victim of the state’s pursuit law.
“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 said.
Noting that the man had fled police weeks prior in another stolen vehicle, she said if police had been allowed to pursue, he might have been caught and her daughter still 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.”
Although the Legislature has since made modifications to allow some pursuits, Heywood argued that “what they did in this last legislative session was really nothing. One of the most shocking parts of the conversation was the current legislation that limits police pursuit says you can chase if it’s a violent crime, but when they were looking at what that actually means, most crimes don’t fit the violent crime definition. If they saw somebody selling a child and the buyer drove off, that wouldn’t qualify as something that would rise to (violent crime).”
“We’ve handcuffed our police officer so much they cannot do the job,” he added. “We don’t have enough and the ones who are here are not allowed to pursue or arrest. It’s leading, has led to, and will lead to bad outcomes.”
Let’s Go Washington has recently submitted enough signatures to qualify several other initiatives, including I-2117, repealing the state’s cap-and-trade program and I-2081, establishing certain parental rights regarding review and notification of a child’s education programs and materials.