King County Courthouse
516 Third Ave
Seattle, WA 98104
Attention: King County Sheriff John Urquhart
With the disturbing and unsettling recent announcement on August 4 by the Seattle Times article entitled “King County deputies restart neck-restraint training” and a report from KOMO TV 4: King Co. Sheriff’s deputies now allowed to use ‘chokeholds.
This letter is in regards to your department’s announcing continued training in the use of what is basically known as a “chokehold”.
A recent case in Staten Island New York on July 17 where a nypd officer’s use of the chokehold resulted in the death of Eric Garner could in fact, and will in fact happen here. The chokehold, ruled by a county coroner as the direct cause of death with Mr. Garner has been prohibited by New York City Police Department policy since 1993. And in the past there have been countless other deaths resulting from this apprehension technique.
If your department’s choke hold training is in fact implemented, its a matter of time before it results in fatalities. King County, the City of Seattle, nor the State of Washington are prepared to deal with the class-action lawsuits, or any other action directed straight at the king county sheriffs department, including civil unrest and any inflamed notoriety directed at this city or state.
While new ‘use of force’ decisions have to be made, whats even more important is that the ‘right’ decision is made, and not one that will result in future fatalities at the hands of king county deputies.
Ron Williams / Executive Director
Government Policies Enforcement / LEATF
Law Enforcement Accountability Task Force