Target: Washington State Governor Jay Inslee
Goal: Make choke holds illegal after a Native American man was choked to death by police officers even though he was not under arrest.
Last year, a member of the Tulalip tribe was choked to death by police after attempting to leave a police car when he changed his mind about accepting a ride home from officers. This man, Cecil D. Lacy, Jr., was not under arrest. Officers responded to a report of a man walking in a road and found Lacy, who had not committed any crime, and offered to drive him home. Minutes later, he was dead.
According to reports, Lacy was “thrown” into the back seat of a police car after accepting the offer of a ride home. After this seemingly unnecessarily violent treatment, he changed his mind and decided he wanted to get home on his own–something that was absolutely his right. When he attempted to leave, officers grabbed him, tasered him, and put him in a choke hold. He yelled out “I can’t breathe,” but officers reportedly refused to release him from the hold. When he stopped breathing, officers claimed to believe he was “faking it.”
In the wake of multiple high-profile cases of police killing black men in the U.S., one of which sparked protests in North Carolina, Lacy’s family has come forward to speak about his unnecessary death. This case was ruled as an “accident,” but it never would have happened if officers hadn’t put Lacy into a choke hold–a hold that has proved deadly for multiple people. Sign our petition to demand that choke holds be made illegal for use by police officers to prevent further needless deaths.
Dear Governor Inslee,
Last year, a member of the Tulalip Native American tribe, Cecil D. Lacy, Jr., was tragically killed by police who put him in a choke hold and ignored his cries about being unable to breathe. When he stopped breathing, the officers apparently though he was “faking it” and allowed him to die.
This is not the first case of someone dying unnecessarily because cops put him in a choke hold. The famous case of Eric Garner who was choked to death by a police officer and sparked the rallying cry “I can’t breathe” put the use of choke holds by officers under the spotlight. These holds are clearly dangerous, particularly to people with heart conditions like Garner and Lacy, and should be outlawed in any form.
Lacy was unarmed and not even under arrest. He just wanted to go home, and there was no reason for a group of police officers to subdue him in such a violent manner. Either way, police are meant to protect people, not kill them for no reason. We urge you to pursue legislation that would ban the use of any form of choke hold by police officers in the state of Washington.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Expert Infantry