State Pa­trol to look into fa­tal shoot­ing by Seat­tle po­lice of­fi­cer

Tri-City Herald (Sunday) - - State - BY STEVE MILETICH

The Washington State Pa­trol has agreed to con­duct a crim­i­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion into a Seat­tle po­lice of­fi­cer’s fa­tal shoot­ing of a 36-year-old man on New Year’s Eve, act­ing on a re­quest from the Seat­tle Po­lice Depart­ment, depart­ment of­fi­cials said Fri­day.

The un­usual move came af­ter the depart­ment’s Of­fice of Po­lice Ac­count­abil­ity (OPA) rec­om­mended that an out­side lawen­force­ment agency con­duct an in­de­pen­dent in­ves­ti­ga­tion to de­ter­mine whether the shoot­ing of Iosia Fale­togo by Of­fi­cer Jared Keller was law­ful.

The OPA said it will con­duct its own in­ter­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion to de­ter­mine if the North Seat­tle shoot­ing vi­o­lated depart­ment poli­cies and pro­ce­dures.

“To­gether, these in­ves­ti­ga­tions are in­tended to pro­vide a thor­ough and im­par­tial eval­u­a­tion of the facts, which are crit­i­cal not only for eval­u­at­ing the case, but for en­sur­ing trans­parency and main­tain­ing pub­lic con­fi­dence in the SPD and the po­lice ac­count­abil­ity sys­tem,” An­drew Myer­berg, the OPA’s civil­ian di­rec­tor, said in a news re­lease.

Myer­berg said the facts of the shoot­ing war­rant a “full and fair re­view,” but that he had drawn no con­clu­sions.

The OPA an­tic­i­pates its in­ves­ti­ga­tion will be com­pleted by the end of July, he said.

Some peo­ple had called for an in­de­pen­dent in­ves­ti­ga­tion un­der the terms of a state po­lice-ac­count­abil­ity and train­ing mea­sure passed by vot­ers in Novem­ber. But that mea­sure re­quires fur­ther steps, ac­cord­ing to of­fi­cials.

The depart­ment’s Force In­ves­ti­ga­tion Team will con­tinue to con­duct an ad­min­is­tra­tive in­quiry as part of a use-of-force re­view re­quired un­der fed­er­ally man­dated re­forms en­acted in 2012.

The State Pa­trol has pre­vi­ously con­ducted crim­i­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tions of Seat­tle of­fi­cers at the re­quest of the depart­ment, al­though the ma­jor­ity of such in­ves­ti­ga­tions are car­ried out in­ter­nally by Seat­tle po­lice de­tec­tives.

Seat­tle po­lice re­leased graphic video last week of the shoot­ing, in­clud­ing slowed-down footage show­ing Fale­togo grasp­ing what po­lice say was a stolen hand­gun.

The video ap­pears to show that, when Fale­togo was shot in the head, the gun was no longer in his hand and he was on the ground strug­gling with sev­eral of­fi­cers.

The shoot­ing oc­curred just off Aurora Av­enue North near North 96th Street af­ter of­fi­cers made a traf­fic stop of a car Fale­togo was driv­ing. Fale­togo ran from the car, lead­ing to a brief chase and strug­gle in which he was shot by Keller.

Fale­togo’s fam­ily has ques­tioned the po­lice ver­sion of the shoot­ing and whether deadly force was nec­es­sary.

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