Bill would lower bar for prosecuting police in shootings

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — A new bill filed in the Legislature would adopt a task force's recommendations — and then some — in lowering the bar for prosecuting police who use deadly force in Washington.

The News Tribune reports ( ) that the measure would remove language from state law that shields officers from prosecution unless they acted with malice and without good faith, as a legislative task force recommended last month.

But the bill, proposed Monday by Olympia Democratic Rep. Beth Doglio, would go a step further. It would require police officers to have "a reasonable belief of an imminent threat" for the use of deadly force to be considered justified. It would also restrict when police can shoot at vehicles.

Proponents of reform say Washington's current law makes it uniquely difficult to prosecute officers who recklessly or negligently kill people.

Many law enforcement groups say they're worried that changing the law would cause police to hesitate when deadly force is needed to protect the public.