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I-940 adds complexity to investigations of a fatal Seattle police shooting

Family members of Iosia Faletogo during a Jan. 4 press conference
Dorothy Edwards
Family members of Iosia Faletogo during a Jan. 4 press conference

The Seattle Police Department has handed over a criminal investigation of one of its officers to the Washington State Patrol. The case is centered on an officer-involved shooting on New Year's Eve that left 36-year-old Iosia Faletogo dead.

The SPD will conduct its own investigation to determine if officer Jared Keller followed department protocol. The situation is made even more complicated by the new voter-approved Initiative 940, which is intended to make it easier to prosecute police who use deadly force.

Crosscut reporter David Kroman has been covering the story, and he talked with KNKX Morning Edition host Kirsten Kendrick about the case.

"There's a lot of different layers to this," Kroman said. 

"This happening just weeks after the passage of Initiative 940 is interesting, because that initiative sort of mandated that when an officer uses deadly force, an investigation into that incident should happen outside of the department, except in cases where a department is under the watch of a federal judge."

Kroman added that SPD is under that watch. Still, Chief Carmen Best forwarded the case to another agency anyway, Kroman said, likely to avoid any anger on the part of the family or the public and to show the department intends to follow the new law.

Listen to the full conversation above. 

Kirsten Kendrick hosts Morning Edition on KNKX and the sports interview series "Going Deep," talking with folks tied to sports in our region about what drives them — as professionals and people.
Ariel first entered a public radio newsroom in 2004 while in school at Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois. It was love at first sight. After graduating from Bradley, she went on to earn a Master's degree in Public Affairs Reporting from the University of Illinois at Springfield. Ariel has lived in Indiana, Ohio and Alaska reporting on everything from salmon spawning to policy issues concerning education. She's been a host, a manager and now rides shotgun with Kirsten Kendrick as the Morning Edition producer at KNKX.