Family of man shot by Seattle police cites I-940, asks for independent investigation

Jan 4, 2019, 3:41 PM | Updated: 10:52 pm

Iosia Faletogo...

The aunt of Iosia Faletogo, the man shot and killed by a Seattle police officer on New Year's Eve, calls for justice and questions why the family has not been able to see his body. (KIRO Radio, Hanna Scott)

(KIRO Radio, Hanna Scott)

The family of a man shot by a Seattle police officer on Monday is asking for an independent investigation, citing a newly passed state law.

RELATED: Seattle police source says he would have shot sooner

Citing I-940, Iosia Faletogo’s family said during a news conference on Friday that the new state law passed by voters in November requires an independent investigation.

The family wants to know why the Seattle Police Department is handling the shooting investigation internally.

“The family of Mr. Faletogo are concerned that the investigation of this death is being conducted by the Seattle Police Department itself, contrary to the mandate of Initiative 940 that deadly force incidents be subject to an investigation “entirely independent” of the involved police agency,” a statement from the Not This Time organization and the Faletogo family said.

Body cam video released on Thursday shows Faletogo run from his car after a traffic stop. Officers tackle him and he appears to grasp at what police say was a stolen handgun. When he was shot, the video shows the gun was no longer in Faletogo’s hand.

I-940, which passed by 60 percent in the November election, requires mandatory, standardized de-escalation training for all law enforcement in Washington and lowers the bar for determining evil intent when deadly force is used by officers.

In terms of implementation in this specific case, though, it could be some time before any conclusions are arrived at.

A letter the Seattle Community Police Commission from Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan, Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes, and Chief of Police Carmen Best laid out the specifics. In it, they noted that despite the fact that I-940 took effect on Dec. 6, 2018, it will be months before rules regarding the legislation’s independent investigation requirement can be solidified and implemented.

The Seattle Police Officers’ Guild also issued a statement of its own.

The officers showed incredible bravery and courage and they did nothing wrong! The officers were lawfully protecting the community and themselves from this violent criminal. The Seattle Police Officers Guild encourages everyone to watch the video and put yourself in the place of these brave officers, who had to make a split second decision while fighting with an armed and violent suspect. We thank all of those who have called to express their support for the officers. It is heartwarming to know that so many appreciate the incredibly tough job that we ask our officers to do each day.

Friday’s news conference was organized by Andre Taylor, whose brother, Che Taylor, was shot and killed by Seattle police in 2016. That shooting was ruled justified.

Taylor said he spoke with Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan Thursday night, and she promised a thorough and transparent investigation.

SPD has said it would require a federal court order for an outside agency to get involved in the investigation.

KIRO 7 and KIRO Radio contributed to this report.

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Family of man shot by Seattle police cites I-940, asks for independent investigation