Law

Washington State Patrol will review fatal SPD shooting

Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best has agreed to seek an independent investigation into the shooting of Iosia Faletogo by an SPD officer.

That represents a break with past practices.

Officer Jared Keller shot Faletogo on New year’s Eve after Faletogo fled from a traffic stop. Police video suggests Faletogo was carrying a handgun during the chase.

Faletogo’s family and Seattle’s Office of Police Accountability had both called for the outside investigation. In a statement Thursday, OPA Director Andrew Myerberg said it could generate evidence to help determine whether the officer’s conduct was lawful.

Myerberg said his office will also examine whether the officer followed SPD policies. He said the two investigations would foster transparency and public confidence in SPD and the accountability system.

The outside review is required under Initiative 940, which passed in November, but procedures for those investigations haven’t yet been developed.

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In a statement after Faletogo's shooting, Seattle's Community Police Commission noted that SPD is under possibly conflicting mandates, between the new state law and Seattle's existing federal consent decree which imposed requirements for deadly force investigations:

"I-940 requires independent investigations of police shootings. However, the Seattle Police Department’s internal investigation process was created under and mandated by the federal consent decree and arguably can’t be changed without court permission."



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