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Then This Happened — February 2022

Not soon enough. The Office of Independent Investigation was created by the Legislature in 2021 because “When police investigate other police, far too often families and communities are left with significant questions about the incident and doubt about the impartiality of the investigation. “Unfortunately, the OII is not ready yet. So officers from Olympia, Tumwater, Yelm—and Lacey—will be the ones to determine whether the January 20 fatal shooting of a 30-year old man by a Lacey officer—was justified… Does anyone doubt what the outcome will be?

Just in time. On MLK Day, January 18 last year, hundreds of people lined the sides of Olympia’s 4th Avenue Bridge with signs calling for “a peaceful transition” and to “respect the vote.” This MLK Day we’re seeing just how meaningful that demand was, as the Special Committee for Jan. 6 uncovers the coordinated effort to derail the transition—and ongoing efforts to deter the vote. Another bridge action needed?

Not at all. Instead of a public hearing as promised, County Commissioners are meeting behind closed doors to discuss unspecified “procedural and substantive concerns” about a petition submitted by Citizens for a Clean Black lake. The petition raises the question of dissolving the Black Lake Flood Control District—and the District’s attorney Heather Burgess seems to have succeeded in focusing the Commissioner on those concerns instead of the citizen petition. See story in September 2021 WIP.

One Comment

  1. Ilana Smith February 6, 2022

    It is true that we should have an active Office of Independent Investigations to review incidents like this, but the RCW 43.102.080 sets a start date of July 1, 2022. Newspaper articles state that the Lacey PD stepped away from the investigation so external groups can evaluate the shooting. The officers didn’t kneel on someone’s neck for over 8 minutes or shoot an unarmed BIPOC man who was trying to flee for their lives. The officers returned fire after the man pulled out a gun and shot one of them. Lacey PD has put the #8Can’tWait training in effect and officers hadn’t fired their guns at a human in the line of duty for years – their shooting of a bear that was wandering too close to apartments last year was terribly sad to hear about.

    I don’t like guns. I find it bizarre that so many people feel compelled to have a deadly weapon in their homes. If that man had not have shot an officer first, there is no doubt in my mind that the officers would have refrained from firing at him and that he would be alive today. Not all cops are bad. Not all review panels are corrupt. We can and must do more to ensure our police are accountable, but it is also our responsibility to not breed distrust preemptively.

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