Mayor Ed Murray and Chief O’Toole announced today that the Seattle Police Department will provide to the public a comprehensive update of the investigation regarding the February 21 officer involved shooting within 30 days.
“We must ensure that the Seattle Police Department’s Force Investigation Team completes a fair and comprehensive investigation of the tragic officer-involved shooting on February 21, and that we provide information to the public in a transparent and timely manner,” said Mayor Murray. “The investigation and review protocols we currently have in place were developed under the federal consent decree in cooperation with the Monitor and the Department of Justice. Today’s announcement will help provide information to the public sooner and will still ensure that the investigation is conducted thoroughly and the public has a full accounting of the facts.”
“This commitment strikes the right balance between transparency and maintaining the integrity of the investigation to ensure a thorough and complete review,” said Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole.
As part of the Federal Consent Decree, SPD, in cooperation with the Department of Justice and the court appointed monitor developed new protocols to investigate and review all use of force incidents, which have been replicated in other major cities as best practices. FIT investigators, who are specifically trained to investigate force incidents, conduct an investigation, then the facts of the investigation are presented to the Force Review Board within 90 days of the incident. The Force Review Board includes multiple outside and independent observers, including a civilian observer, the Department of Justice, and the Monitoring Team.
The Force Review Board determines whether the shooting was consistent with policy, whether the officers used appropriate tactics, and whether the investigation should be turned over to the Office of Police Accountability for a disciplinary review.
“As we have been since the beginning of the consent decree, for all officer involved shootings, the Monitoring Team will be actively observing this investigation from start to finish,” said Monitor Merrick Bobb.
The Monitor recently completed assessments of the operations of the Force Investigation Team, Force Review Board, and Office of Police Accountability. The Monitor found all three to be in initial compliance with the consent decree. The Monitor specifically commended FIT for its “commitment to fair and thorough investigations of officer force.”