March 25, 2021 Blog

Commonsense Conversations Episode 5: Rep. Johnson and Police Accountability

For the Alliance for Gun Responsibility’s fifth episode of Commonsense Conversations, CEO Renee Hopkins met with Representative Jesse Johnson to discuss the devastating mass shootings that have recently occurred in our country and the call for police accountability throughout Washington State. 

The recent shootings in Atlanta and Boulder have revealed, once again, the need for further progress to be made in order to prevent gun violence throughout our nation. Despite popular belief that mass shootings  decreased during the pandemic,  Renee reveals that while indiscriminate, public mass shootings slowed, there was a 50 percent increase in mass shootings in 2020 compared to 2019. 

Both Renee and Representative Johnson discuss the need to address all forms of gun violence, including police violence.  Representative Johnson recounts the beginning of his involvement in addressing police violence after the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor in the summer of 2020. He explains that he wanted the movement for greater police accountability in Washington state “to be community led” and spent many late nights on Zoom having conversations and forums with marginalized communities and families who have experienced police violence themselves. In total, 13 police accountability bills were brought to the Washington State legislature this year, one being HB 1054, which establishes standards of police conduct that ensure public safety by banning harmful police tactics that disproportionately affect Black and Brown communities.

To guarantee that these police accountability bills continue to advance through the legislator, Representative Johnson says that reaching out to your legislators to support HB 1054, HB 1310, HB 1267, and SB 5051 is crucial. 

We hope that Commonsense Conversations will be an engaging and informative way for our community to learn more about our work and how you can get involved. We’ll host as many as possible through Facebook Live on the Alliance for Gun Responsibility page. You can also access an audio version here if you are feeling a little video’d out. Keep an eye out for new episodes and you can see ALL of our episodes here!

–Samantha Eden is the Legislative Organizing Fellow at the Alliance