The Seattle Police Department has released recordings between officers and dispatchers from an incident that led to the fatal shooting of a mentally disturbed man in Gas Works Park early Wednesday morning. KIRO Radio’s Ron Upshaw and Don O’Neill say it underscores how officers are being put in an unfair and potentially dangerous situation because of new city use-of-force policies.
The recordings reveal officers repeatedly contacted dispatchers and were ordered to stand by as a crisis intervention team member – an officer trained in dealing with mental health issues – was called in to intervene.
The man had attacked a park security guard and refused to surrender. He ultimately threatened officers with a broken glass bottle and kept coming at them. Two officers fired Tasers at the man, which failed to subdue him. When he kept threatening them, officers shot him.
The recordings reveal the incident took upwards of eight minutes or more from the time officers first responded. While they followed the new policies for forced imposed by a settlement with the Department of Justice, Ron argues it shows police are being dangerously hamstrung.
“This is crazy,” Ron argues. “We want police officers to be mental health professionals, wait for an intervention guy to come in, be able to handle the situation, not resort to any sort of force, and we’ve got the DOJ and everybody looking at it. These officers are at risk right now.”
Listen to the audio and Ron and Don’s analysis of the Gas Works Park police shooting here: