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Washington Legislators Ban Police From Hog-Tying Suspects

The Washington state House overwhelmingly approved legislation Wednesday that would ban police from hog-tying suspects, a restraint technique that has long drawn concern because of the risk of suffocation, the Associated Press reports. The U.S. Department of Justice has recommended against the practice since at least 1995 to avoid deaths in custody. The attorney general’s office in Washington state recommended against using hog-tying in its model use-of-force policy released in 2022. Yet at least four local agencies continue to permit it, according to policies they submitted to the attorney general’s office that year. “This practice is dehumanizing, and it’s dangerous,” said Democratic Rep. Sharlett Mena during the vote.

The vote came nearly four years after Manuel Ellis, a 33-year-old Black man, died in Tacoma, about 30 miles (50 kilometers) south of Seattle, facedown with his hands and feet cuffed together behind him. The case became a touchstone for racial justice demonstrators in the Pacific Northwest. The bill, which was previously passed by the Senate, will need to go back to that body for verification before heading to Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee’s desk. Republican Rep. Gina Mosbrucker said while there were still concerns from her party about smaller jurisdictions that might not have the money to start using alternative restraints, she supports the measure. “I feel like by this bill passing, for me Madam Speaker, we’re starting to amend that relationship between law enforcement and the community,” she said.


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