Prosecutor responds to request for quicker officer-shooting reviews

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by HAYLEY GUENTHNER & KREM.com

KREM.com

Posted on May 2, 2014 at 3:36 PM

Updated Saturday, May 3 at 2:56 AM

SPOKANE, Wash. -- Spokane County Prosecutor Steven Tucker responded Friday to the Spokane City Council’s request for quicker reviews of officer involved shootings.

Tucker said the media contacted him on April 11 for a response to a social media posting on the city council’s website of a letter to him asking him to speed up the reviews of shootings involving police.

“I wish the council would have called me and asked me how this goes and asked me what goes into it,” said Tucker.

He said he did not actually receive this letter until April 25.

The letter to Tucker asks him to look at how he can speed up his review. It is also a recommendation the Department of Justice gave the City.

READ: Letter drafted for Spokane Co. Prosecutor Steve Tucker

READ: Prosecutor's letter to city council

City leaders said speeding up the process would help officers move forward if they do not have to wait so long to find out if their shooting was justified.

Tucker responding to this request in a letter back to the city council saying, “He apparently doesn’t know that the Prosecutor’s Office does not do the investigations (the non-shooting police agency investigates), nor does he realize that the law enforcement agency controls the amount of paid administrative leave that is given to the officers (not the Prosecutor’s Office).  Seems to warrant some research into the position that he is seeking.”

MORE:City Council requests quicker review of shootings involving police

He went on to say, “I would point out to Council members (and Mr. Beggs), that investigations of officer-involved shooting can take months to complete by the non-involved shooting agency before delivery to the Prosecutor’s Office.”

He said officer-involved shooting reports typically range from 2,000 to 3,000 pages. 

Tucker said the number of officers that responded to the scene of these shootings, the number of witnesses, how many interviews completed, crime scene photos and many other things are factored into the investigations.

READ: Protocol for Spokane authorities after officer involved shootings

He said once the investigation is complete and forwarded to the Prosecutor’s Office the Chief Criminal Deputy, Jack Driscoll reviews the reports. Driscoll marks pages that he bases his findings on and writes a 15-30 page report for Tucker to review.

When Tucker is done reviewing Driscoll’s report, either they ask for more investigation or he sends the findings to the appropriate agency to be released to the media.

Tucker said his office has a lot of work to do but they are very effective. He said his criminal prosecutors handle 5,000 felonies and 12,000 misdemeanor charges a year.

KREM 2 On Your Side pulled the stats and learned the time Tucker’s office takes to review massive reports on these shootings. They vary for recent cases from five to 11 months.

Tucker’s letter will possibly be discussed in their meeting Monday.

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