KENT, Wash. — Confusion over the new statewide police reform laws has prompted urgent meetings between state lawmakers, police chiefs and sheriffs, including one set for Wednesday evening in King County.
Police in Kent recently had a situation with a suicidal man who ended up taking his own life.
Some of the officers thought they couldn’t respond physically to the address in case he shot himself because of the new laws.
On the officers’ bodycam video, one officer could be heard saying, “A shame they put new laws in place. We could have helped him.”
But Kent Police Chief Rafael Padilla says it wasn’t because of the new laws.
“Our response before the new laws came out July 25 (was) we would not have gone up to the front door and knocked on it,” he said. “So, I want to make it clear the new laws weren’t a direct result of us not responding.
“So, what I think you were seeing there were some raw emotions of officers had literally just went in there and we’re doing lifesaving CPR,” Padilla said. “What I think what you saw was a moment of frustration, not specific to just that situation, but the overall feeling in law enforcement right now where they’re not sure they are really going to be supported for doing the things that they think they should do to protect the community that’s what I think you saw on that.”