Tacoma police withdraw from candidate shooting probe
TACOMA, Wash. (AP) — The police department in Tacoma, Washington, will hand over the investigation into a May 30 shooting involving Republican Pierce County Council candidate Josh Harris after the county prosecutor raised concerns about potential conflicts of interest.
The News Tribune reports 47-year-old Harris says he fired his gun in self-defense as a man drove a vehicle toward him at high speeds outside a homeless encampment near Tacoma’s Cheney Stadium.
Harris had told police he had went to retrieve property stolen from him when the man drove a vehicle at him.
UPDATE: Tacoma Police Department has been removed as the investigating agency on this case. Prosecutor's office cited "an appearance of a conflict" given TPD's ties to Harris, including a political endorsement from the police union. Kitsap County Sheriff's Office will take over. https://t.co/KgdCBHucNo— Kari Plog (@KariPlog) June 3, 2022
The prosecutor’s office noted two potential conflicts of interest in the investigation: The Tacoma police union has endorsed Harris in his Pierce County Council bid, and Harris has bought suites for union members at minor league baseball games in the past.
Harris previously made headlines for paying $300,000 to bail out three Tacoma police officers involved in the death of Manuel Ellis. His brother is also a Tacoma police chaplain.
The other man involved in the incident was charged with assault Thursday on suspicion he drove a stolen vehicle at Harris, but those charges were dismissed Friday due to Tacoma police handing off the case, according to a news release.
Prosecutors will be able to refile charges at the end of a new investigation. Prosecuting Attorney Mary Robnett made the request to hand over the investigation to Tacoma Police Chief Avery Moore on Friday.
Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office detectives have agreed to investigate the case.