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Jury rules Seattle officers ‘justified’ in 2017 shooting of Damarius Butts

SEATTLE — A King County jury unanimously ruled that four Seattle police officers were “justified” in the shooting of Damarius Butts in 2017.

The 19-year-old was a suspect in an armed robbery of a downtown Seattle 7-Eleven store.

After Butts was tracked down, officers were involved in a shootout that injured two officers.

Police said they had no choice but to fire back and Butts was killed.

Monday’s ruling comes after two weeks of testimony during the first inquest in King County in four years.

Police officers are required to testify in the new inquest system, and attorneys who represent them say that’s unfair because they could be potentially charged with a crime.

In 2021, Constantine said the rights of officers against self-incrimination remained unchanged.

Inquests are fact-finding reviews, not trials, that occur when a law enforcement officer is involved in a shooting death.

There are seven more inquests currently on the docket, including the police killing of Charleena Lyles, and dozens more are pending.


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