SEATTLE - The family of a man fatally shot by a Seattle police officer on New Year’s Eve is calling for an investigation by an outside agency.
The family of Iosia Faletogo spoke about the shooting at a Friday morning news conference.
They say a new state law passed by voters in November requires an independent investigation.
After watching the SPD video showing Faletogo's deadly struggle with police, his family released a statement asking why, despite a new state law, Seattle police are handling the entire 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.
The day after Faletogo was killed, his grieving family gathered around the site and questioned if deadly force was the only option.
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"City leaders seem to believe that I-940 is not yet in effect and are proceeding as before the initiative was overwhelmingly approved by Washington voters,” a spokesman for the family wrote.
Voters passed I-940 into law by a majority of nearly 60 percent in November. It creates a good-faith test to determine when the use of deadly force is necessary. It also requires police to be re-trained in de-escalation techniques and requires independent investigations when an officer uses deadly force.
Faletogo's family says he was a devoted father to two young sons and did whatever he had to do to provide for his family, struggling to find jobs while he was on probation from federal drug charges.
“He did what this world allowed him to do. The only chances they gave him. What’s the chance to try to survive in this world? Bills have to be paid, kids have to be fed,” said a family member.
Late Thursday, the NAACP sent KIRO 7 News a statement that says in part:
It is naive to rely upon an investigation conducted by the SPD, the agency responsible for the death, as guidance for a decision whether or not to file criminal charges, to determine whether this homicide was excusable or justifiable.
SPD has said it would require a federal court order for an outside agency to get involved in the investigation.
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