Update at 12:04 p.m.: Seattle police say that at least one officer trained in crisis intervention tried to negotiate with a man who was later fatally shot by two patrol officers at Gas Works Park early this morning.
Department spokesman Patrick Michaud said that a crisis intervention team member – someone trained to deal with people in the middle of a mental-health episode – was called to the scene and spoke with the man after he allegedly attacked a Seattle Parks and Recreation security officer. The crisis-intervention officer couldn’t convince the man to surrender, and the man threatened officers with a broken glass bottle, police said.
Two officers then fired their Tasers at the man, but the electrical shock devices did not work on the man, police said. When the man continued to threaten officers with the broken bottle, he was shot, police said.
Michaud said the department use-of-force protocol was followed during the incident.
“They went through their training. They did what they’re trained to do and sadly someone died. The officers were in one of those impossible situations where they were forced to shoot someone,” Michaud said.
According to the police department’s new use-of-force policy, “An officer shall use only the force reasonable, necessary, and proportionate to effectively bring an incident or person under control, while protecting the lives of the officer or others.”
The policy also says an officer’s use of force “must be judged from the perspective of a reasonable officer on the scene, rather than with the 20/20 vision of hindsight.” factors to be considered when weighing whether an officer’s force was reasonable include level of threat or resistance presented by the subject; the potential for injury to citizens, officers or subjects; the availability of other resources; and the proximity or access of weapons to the subject.
The policy went into effect Jan. 1 and, for the first time, outlines for officers when force is appropriate and when it isn’t. The policy, which was negotiated between the Seattle Police Department (SPD) and the Department of Justice (DOJ), addresses the findings of a 2011 DOJ investigation that concluded Seattle police resort to force too quickly and routinely use too much when they do. The Justice Department also found disturbing but inconclusive evidence of biased policing.
Update 9:05 a.m.:
A man who was shot by Seattle police at Gas Works Park this morning has died.
A spokeswoman at Harborview Medical Center said the man’s body has been released to the King County Medical Examiner’s Office.
Seattle police shot and wounded a man at Gas Works Park this morning after the man threatened them with a broken liquor bottle.
Assistant Police Chief Nick Metz said the two officers believed to have shot the man are on administrative leave while the incident is investigated. The names of the officers and the name of the man shot have not been released by the department.
Shortly after 2:30 a.m., a group of uniformed patrol officers pulled into the park on Lake Union as part of an increased security effort in the wake of vandals who caused nearly $8,000 worth of damage to the park Monday night. Immediately after arriving, officers were flagged down by a Seattle Parks and Recreation security officer who had encountered a man who was drinking and had a campfire going.
The security officer told police that the man had attacked him after he asked him to extinguish the fire and leave the park, according to a department news release.
The four police officers found the man seated on a set of stairs, drinking from a big bottle of alcohol, Metz said. Upon seeing police, the man slammed the bottle against the concrete and started waving the jagged glass shard, Metz said.
As the man approached police with the broken bottle, one officer deployed his Taser. It had no apparent effect on the man, Metz said. The man kept approaching, so a second officer fired a Taser. It also did not have an effect on the man, Metz said.
The man then started walking toward a third officer, Metz said.
“As the guy was advancing with the bottle two officers fired multiple rounds,” Metz said.
The man then fell and landed on top of one of the officers who had apparently tripped or fell during the confrontation, Metz said.
Medics treated the suspect at the park before taking him to Harborview Medical Center with life-threatening injuries, Metz said.
The Seattle Police Department’s Firearms Investigations Team and the Office of Professional Accountability are investigating, Metz said.