NEWS GLEAMS | Impacts of Police Killing of Tyre Nichols Continue; State Bills to Increase Police Accountability; Free Tax Help at Library
A roundup of news and announcements we don’t want to lose in the fast-paced news cycle!
compiled by Vee Hua 華婷婷
✨Gleaming This Week✨ Tire Nichols protest at the Ohio State House in Columbus, Ohio. Photo is attributed to Becker1999 (under a Creative Commons, CC BY 2.0 license). Impacts of the police killing of Tire Nichols continue to be felt nationally
A 29-year-old Black man, Tyre Nichols, died in hospital on January 10th, days after five police officers fatally attacked him on January 7th in Memphis, Tennessee. The incident took place in two places – the first, where Nichols was pulled over, and the second, where he was beaten, was within 100 meters of his mother’s house. Nichols has since been celebrated as a loving son, father of a 4-year-old, avid skateboarder, and budding photographer. His photography work can be seen on his website.
Memphis Police released four graphic videos on their Vimeo of the incident. Three shows footage from police-worn body camera footage of the two different locations. The last one is an overhead view from a pole camera without sound.
The videos do not include footage of Nichols being pulled over. While police officers initially stated that he was pulled over for “reckless driving,” the Memphis Police Chief shared that no evidence was found to support the allegation after the department reviewed all video footage. Footage also revealed that medics were slow to treat him at the scene.
Five Black officers were fired immediately after the incident and face charges of “second degree murder, official misconduct, aggravated kidnapping, official oppression and aggravated assault”. As of January 30, a sixth officer, who is white, has been suspended pending the investigation. He was present at the initial scene and deployed his taser, but has not been charged.
The officers were part of a special unit called SCORPION, known as “Street Crime Operation to Restore Peace in Our Neighborhoods.” The unit was a team of 50 people focused on reducing crime in specific areas; it has since been permanently disabled by the Memphis Police Department.
Across the country, protests in response to Nichols’ murder have been mostly peaceful, perhaps in part because of his mother’s early message to the public. She said: “I want each of you to protest in peace. I don’t want us to burn down our city, tear up the streets, because that’s not what my son stood for.”
Black Lives Matter protesters calling for police accountability and Seattle Police Department pay on June 2, 2020. (Photo: Alex Garland) Two bills in Washington state are being proposed for increased police accountability
Last Wednesday, in Olympia, the Washington State House of Representatives Civil Rights and Judiciary Committee heard two bills centered on accountability for police misconduct.
HB 1025 is sponsored by Rep. My-Linh Thai (41st Legislative District), and set up a private cause of action for victims and their families to sue for police violations of the state constitution or state law, in a way where the police are not protected under the court -created law of “qualified immunity.” The NAACP Legal Defense Fund states that qualified immunity “allows state and local officials to avoid personal consequences related to their professional interactions unless they violate ‘clearly established law,'” based on prior precedents surrounding “similar” instances have been created.
According to a press release from the Washington Coalition for Police Accountability, “if a victim of police misconduct or their family wins the lawsuit, they can get attorney’s fees under HB 1025, which has been another barrier for families trying to access courts. Individual officers are not subject to any monetary damages because they are indemnified by their departments.”
After the 2020 race riots, there was a national movement to end qualified immunity, including a proposed Congressional bill in 2021, which was simply introduced. Similar legislation has been enacted in Colorado, New Mexico, California and Nevada.
HB 1445, sponsored by Rep. Drew Hansen, (23rd Legislative District) and chairman of the Civil Rights and Judiciary Committee, “increases the authority of the Office of the Attorney General (AGO) to investigate misconduct at law enforcement agencies and prisons … increases responsiveness.” Part of its functionality “includes a process for aligning a local department’s policy, training, discipline, and conduct with statewide legal requirements … and directs the AGO to develop model policies for departmental accountability systems, such as the filing complaints, conducting investigations, imposing discipline and handling appeals.”
The videos of the hearing can be viewed on TVW, Washington’s Public Affairs website, with transcript. Readers can also sign up for email updates or learn more about HB 1025 and HB 1445 on their website.
Seattle Central Library in Seattle, Washington. 11 June 2022. Photo is attributed to Dietmar Rabich (under a Creative Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0 license). Seattle Public Library is offering free tax help through April 2023
The Seattle Public Library, United Way of King County, and AARP are offering in-person tax preparation services at eight library locations through April 18, on a walk-in and appointment basis. Free virtual tax help is also available through United Way and AARP.
Volunteers will help prepare personal tax returns; help with business tax returns is not available. A list of eligibility requirements and documents one must bring to receive tax help can be viewed at SPL.org/TaxHelp.
Details on tax assistance are as follows:
Central Library (1000 4th Ave., Level 5)
No appointment is necessary at the Central Library. It is available on a first-come-first-served basis. The last customer will be taken 30–45 minutes before the end of Tax Help hours.
Mondays to Thursdays from 11:00 to 17:00 Saturdays from 11:00 to 17:00 Sundays from 13:00 to 17:00 From Monday 23 January to Tuesday 18 April Tax Help at Neighborhood Branches
The following locations accept walk-in help on a first-come, first-served basis, or via pre-arranged appointments.
Ballard Branch (5614 22nd Ave. NW)
Walk-in assistance. Tuesdays from 11:00 to 15:00 From Tuesday 7 February to Tuesday 11 April
Broadview Branch (12755 Greenwood Ave. N.)
Drop-in assistance Mondays from 12:00 to 16:00 Wednesdays from 10:00 to 14:00 From Wednesday, February 1, to Monday, April 17
Greenwood Branch (8016 Greenwood Ave. N.)
Drop-in assistance Thursdays from noon to 4pm From Thursday 23 February to Thursday 13 April
Northeast Branch (6801 35th Ave. NE)
Appointment-based help. Visit SPL.org/TaxHelp to make an appointment. Saturdays from 11:30 to 16:00 From Saturday 4 February to Saturday 15 April
Queen Anne Branch (400 W. Garfield St.)
Drop-in assistance Saturdays from 11:30 to 15:30 From Saturday 4 February to Saturday 15 April
South Park Branch (8604 Eighth Ave. S.)
Drop-in assistance Mondays from 16:00 to 19:30 From Monday 30 January to Monday 17 April
Southwest Branch (9010 35th Ave. SW)
Appointment-based help. Visit SPL.org/TaxHelp to make an appointment. Wednesdays from 13:00 to 18:00 From Wednesday 1 February to Wednesday 12 April
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