State Senators Fight for Inhumane Practice to Be Abolished
Democratic state Senator Yasmin Trudeau passionately advocated for the banning of the controversial hog-tying restraint technique during a recent Senate vote. Emphasizing the importance of treating individuals with respect and dignity, Trudeau stated, “He was loved and he was somebody’s family member. And I think any of us on the floor would not want our family member to spend the final moments of their life in this inhumane way.”
A Widespread Issue
Although many cities and counties have already prohibited the use of hog-tying, it is still utilized in certain areas. Concerns surrounding the safety and ethical implications of this restraint technique have prompted the U.S. Department of Justice to advise against its use since 1995.
A Personal Connection
Democratic Senator John Lovick, who spent over three decades as a state trooper, shared his own experience with the restraint technique during the legislative process. Expressing his remorse, Lovick revealed, “I have lived with the shame of watching a person get hog-tied, and it’s a shame that you have to live with. We know better now. And it is time for us to end the use of this dehumanizing technique.”
In 2022, the attorney general’s office in Washington recommended against the use of hog-tying in its model use-of-force policy. Despite this guidance, at least four local agencies still permitted its use, as revealed by the policies they submitted to the attorney general that year.
A Tragic Incident
The need for reform was tragically highlighted by the case of Manuel Ellis, a pedestrian who was subjected to the hog-tying technique by Tacoma police officers Matthew Collins and Christopher Burbank. Conflicting accounts surround the events that transpired, but Ellis was ultimately shocked, beaten, and restrained with a hobble device. The medical examiner ruled his death a homicide caused by lack of oxygen. While Collins, Burbank, and a third officer, Timothy Rankine, were charged, they were ultimately acquitted in December after their defense attorneys argued that Ellis’ death was the result of methamphetamine intoxication and a heart condition.
With the passage of this bill, Washington state takes a significant step towards eradicating the use of this controversial restraint technique. The ban not only reflects a commitment to safeguarding human rights but also acknowledges the urgent need for law enforcement reform.